We understand that all you really want to do come Friday night is throw on some jeans and find yourself with a menu in one hand and a massive alcoholic drink in the other. We’re going to stop you right there.

You just spent your week wrangling didn’t you? You got to the gym, the physio and you even managed to pack a lunch each day. So, let’s run through some ideas on how you can have those drinks tonight without undoing all your hard work.

1. Count your drinks and think about the calories

This is from the National Diabetes Services Scheme:

“Alcohol has 29 kilojoules per gram versus 16 kilojoules per gram for protein and carbohydrates.

“It has little nutritional value and therefore the kilojoules found in alcohol are often called ‘empty kilojoules’. For example, 2 standard drinks of wine contains 600 kilojoules, the same amount of kilojoules as four teaspoons of butter or margarine.”

 Healthier Drinking

2. Avoid sugary mixers

Did you know a gin and tonic has 200 calories but a vodka lime and soda has 64? Every time you smash down a drink that is mixed on soft drink, you’re pumping yourself full of sugar.

We recommend soda as a mixer for a few reasons: the low calorie level but also the hydration.

Also, keep in mind:

  • A full strength beer has about 155 calories
  • 150 millimetres of red wine has about 100-120 calories
  • 150 millimetres of white wine has about 70-120 calories
  • A rum and cola has about 250 calories
  • Cocktails aren’t a good idea, pina coladas can have up to 480 calories

3. Choose red wine over white

According to I Quit Sugar, “It’s the fructose in the grapes that ferments to become alcohol, leaving wine low in sugar. Red wine is lower in fructose than white wine and is definitely the better option.”

Dessert wines – we’re thinking plum wines – are full of sugar. Stear clear!

4. Do not skip dinner

The general consensus is skipping dinner on a night out drinking is a bad idea. Here’s dietician Georgina Moore.

“Instead, make sure you head into the party or event with a game plan for how much food and alcohol you want to consume,” she said.

“Then stick to it. Eating before will also help prevent the calorie explosion that happens from a late-night stop at the kebab shop on the way home.”

Oh, we’ve been there!

5. That whole ‘alternate your drinks with water’ idea is a good one

“Apart from eating before you go out, my top tip is to sip your drink and alternate every alcoholic beverage with something non-alcoholic,” Georgina said.

“It’ll help you stay hydrated and will go a long way towards helping you avoid waking up with a nasty hangover!”

And to put all of this into perspective for you, we’ve included this little comparison from the guys at I Quit Sugar: “A beer is equivalent to a sausage roll.” Sigh.