For a variety of reasons, many of us are choosing to reduce our intake of alcohol, or even avoid it altogether. If you’re looking for an alcohol-free option as we head into the festive and holiday season, you don’t necessarily need to stick to plain water! This Summer, try one of these options for something special, sans alcohol.
Stay well-hydrated with a simple sparkling water, infused with fresh ingredients for flavour (and visual interest, too!) Start with ice, top with sparkling or soda water and finish with a garnish of your preferred fruits, herbs or even edible flowers.
- A wedge of pineapple and a few mint leaves
- Orange rind and a sprig of rosemary
- Sliced cucumber and ginger (try slicing lengthways, for an elegant presentation).
Low-sugar kombucha and sodas.
Kombucha is a fermented drink that is typically low in sugar, but still has a sweet refreshing flavour. Importantly, kombucha is not recommended during pregnancy; if you’re avoiding alcohol for this reason, opt for a naturally sweetened soda alternative such as Remedy Sodaly or Nexba soda.
Plenty of individually-portioned options are widely-available in supermarkets (usually nearby traditional soft drinks and mixers) – just be sure to check the ingredients list and nutrition panel to select a low-sugar option such as Lo Bros, Remedy or Mojo.
Iced herbal teas and tisanes.
Herbal teas can be enjoyed year-round, although an iced or cold brew version is infinitely more refreshing in warmer temperatures! Look for antioxidant-rich blends containing berries, hibiscus and rosehip, for example. Alternatively, try brewing your own iced white or green tea, and serve with lemon, mint and a little honey to sweeten, if you like.
Importantly, certain herbal teas, such as licorice and chamomile, are not recommended during pregnancy; if you are pregnant or trying to conceive, it’s best to confirm what can safely be consumed with a specialist Fertility and Prenatal Dietitian.
Fresh (mostly-veggie) juices.
Fresh juices are a great way to boost our intakes of both fluid and nutrients. Given the absence of fibre, reduce the sugar content of your juice by opting for a predominantly vegetable-based combination. Look for cold-pressed juice where possible; cold-pressed juicers preserve more nutrients compared to traditional, heat-generating centrifugal juicers.
- Beetroot and watermelon (see Amanda’s recipe, here!)
- Spinach, celery, cucumber and apple
- Carrot, orange and ginger.
Non-alcoholic beer, wine, spirits and cocktails.
Many sophisticated non-alcoholic options have recently flooded the market, presenting plenty of possibilities beyond the standard non-alcoholic chardonnay found in the supermarket! Look for 0% versions of your preferred beer, wine or spirit, or dedicated wine alternatives specifically designed to pair with food, either online or in your local liquor store.
Alternatively, browse the mocktail menu when you’re next dining out; you might just find a new favourite! If there isn’t a dedicated menu, most bartenders are happy to create a non-alcoholic version of your favourite cocktail (or something entirely new!) – it’s always worth asking.
For those of us planning to indulge in an alcoholic beverage or two over the festive and holiday season, the relevant dietary guidelines are worth keeping in mind. Australian dietary guidelines recommend that adults (who are not pregnant or breastfeeding) consume a maximum of 10 standard drinks per week, with no more than four standard drinks consumed on any one day. Importantly, the less we drink, the lower our health risks, overall.
The best options if you’re trying to be mindful of extra calories and sugar, include light beer and clear spirits (such as vodka, gin and tequila), served with low-sugar mixers like soda water, plenty of ice and fresh ingredients such as fruits and herbs. If you prefer wine, try a red variety (lighter styles can be served lightly chilled for a more refreshing take) or a white wine spritzer (half white wine, half soda water, served over ice).
For expert dietary support this Summer (and beyond), book your first appointment with one of our wonderful Accredited Practising Dietitians today.
Written by Caitlin Branch, Student Nutritionist, and Amanda Smith, Accredited Practising Dietitian.