As it is nearly springtime, the social lives of many people begin to pick up again as the days become longer. It is very tempting to just close the curtains and shut out the world in the dark, winter months, but sunshine makes most of us want to be outside more often.
There are many benefits to a better social life, including less stress, feeling happier about life, and even the vitamin D from sunshine is good for our health. However, this newly discovered outgoing social life can also bring with it an increased consumption of alcohol.
However, increased nights out don't have to mean more alcohol - and you don't have to change the types of night out to achieve it. Reducing the alcohol content in your drinks is easy, and there are many great tasting options for you.
Low and reduced alcohol
Most beers found in pubs have an 'alcoholic strength by volume', or ABV, of somewhere between 4-6%, and a drink would need an ABV of lower than 1.2% to be classed as low-alcohol. However, you can also help lower your alcohol consumption by switching to reduced-alcohol drinks. It is possible to find beers with alcohol levels of 2% in pubs, while you can also find reduced-alcohol wine, with an ABV of around 6%. You should find this information on the bottle or on a drinks list if you're out for a meal.
Great tasting no-alcohol drinks
Reducing alcohol can be difficult if your only options are some flat cola or a glass of tap water. In these circumstances, you might feel like you are missing out, and so your willpower may be tested as a result. A little creativity however can soon give you the best tasting drink of the party. Here are a few examples:
- Raspberry spritzer - perfect for a warm, sunny evening. The ingredients are simple: some frozen raspberries, 2 sprigs of fresh mint, raspberry-flavoured syrup, some soda water and ice cubes. Everything except the ice goes into a cocktail shaker, and after you've shaken it up, pour it over the ice. Easy
- Maple and grapefruit punch - no alcohol here, just refreshment in a glass.. You can make a whole bowl of it if you like, but for one drink, all you need is 20 ml of maple syrup, 90 ml of strained grapefruit juice, and 90 ml of ginger beer. Stir the maple syrup into the grapefruit juice until it disappears, then add the ginger beer. Give it a little stir, and it's ready to go
- Melon slushie - a perfect way of utilising your blender. Take some seedless melon (any will work, but watermelon is ideal) and cut into 1 inch slices. You should have enough to fit into two cups. Next, take 120 ml of pomegranate juice and some ice cubes, place it all in your blender and serve in a tall glass. Delicious.
If you don't fancy any of those options, you can still cut back how much alcohol you consume on a night out by making a few changes to your drinking habits. Looking for drinks with a lower ABV, swapping your normal pint for a smaller bottle of beer or a shandy, and having a non-alcoholic beverage between each alcoholic one will all help to reduce your alcoholic intake. Avoiding rounds will also help you to drink at your own pace.
Wherever possible, stay within the healthy drinking limits. These are 21 units a week for men and 14 units a week for women.