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Reducing weight gain at the weekend

Did you know that?

  • A standard glass of wine can contain as many calories as a piece of chocolate
  • A pint of lager has about the same calorie count as a packet of crisps

After training hard all week burning all those calories take a minute to think about your drinking habits at weekend. Calories in alcohol can soon add up and undo your hard work. There are some simple things you can do to minimise the calories you take in from alcohol and therefore reduce weight gain…follow these tips from the British Nutrition Foundation:

  • Stick to your daily recommended units – men should not regularly drink more than 3-4 units of alcohol a day; women should not regularly drink more than 2-3 units a day. As an indication, a pint of lager (ABV 5.2%) and a 250ml glass of wine (ABV 12%) both contain 3 units of alcohol.
  • Alternate an alcoholic drink with a glass of water – this will help to prevent you becoming dehydrated.
  • Don’t drink on an empty stomach. If you do reach for snacks while drinking, opt for a healthier option – choose a sandwich instead of crisps or chips, or choose a chicken burger without mayonnaise instead of a kebab with garlic sauce.
  • Drinking in rounds can mean you end up drinking more than you intended. Opt out and drink at your own pace.
  • Try cutting down with a friend, as you’ll be more likely to stick to it with moral support.
  • Eat a healthier dinner before you start drinking. Order or cook before you start drinking so you’re not tempted to go for the less healthy options.
  • Pace yourself by taking small sips.
  • Avoid “binge drinking” – some people are under the misapprehension that they can “save up” their units to splurge at the weekend.
  • If you’re drinking white wine, why not add a splash of soda water to help the same number of units last longer?

Also try;

  • Swapping from pints to half pints or bottles.
  • Instead of having a large wine have a small glass. Or top a small wine measure with soda in a large wine glass.
  • Choose an alcohol with a lower ABV (Alcohol by Volume) or sometimes it just says Vol

If you know you are going out at the weekend try to plan ahead;

  • Have some healthy ready prepared snacks in the fridge for when you get home instead of going for a kebab or pizza on your way home. There are some great fakeaway recipes out there.
  • Plan a healthy breakfast for the day after. Going for a fry-up instead of your usual bowl of cereal can add an extra 450kcal to the calorie count from the night before.

How many calories are in your drink? Use Change4life’s drinks checker

Calories in alcohol*
Drink Calories (kcal)  Food equivalent
A standard glass (175ml) of 12% wine 126kcal 1 Cadbury Heroes miniature bar
A pint of 5% strength beer 215kcal 1 packet of McCoy’s salted crisps
A glass (50ml) of (17%) cream liqueur 118kcal 1 Milky Way bar
A standard bottle (330ml) of 5% alcopop 237kcal 3 Lees teacakes
A double measure (50ml) of 17.5% fortified wine 65kcal 1 Asda bourbon biscuit

*Calculated using Change4Life’s Drinks Checker.