Health Chatter: Alternatives to Alcohol

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Whether or not you're taking part in a national campaign about cutting down alcohol, unless you're tee-total, it's good to explore ways to cut down your consumption.

There are plenty of ways to enjoy a tasty drink without involving alcohol.

The Government recommends men and women drink no more than 14 units of alcohol per week, and if you do drink this much, it should be spread throughout the week.

‘Saving up’ your units for a weekend binge could actually be more harmful to your health and is best avoided.


Here are some ideas for alcohol alternatives that you might like to try.

Non-alcoholic beer If beer’s your thing and you’re worried about missing the taste when cutting down, then do not fear!

There are many non-alcoholic beers on the market now and they are easily available in most big supermarkets. Some are better than others so try a different one if the first one you pick up isn’t to your taste.

Wine alternatives Try swapping your glass of red for a glass of red grape juice. Or if you like your wine sparkling, add sparkling water to your white grape juice or any flavour cordial.

There are pre-mixed alternatives readily available in most supermarkets but it can be considerably cheaper to make it yourself at home.

Grown up soft drinks There’s more on offer than just cola and lemonade. The range of adult targeted soft drinks is ever expanding offering alcohol alternatives such as ginger beer, dandelion and burdock and posh juices served in glass bottles worthy of any pub coaster.

Mocktails Alcohol free cocktails, just as delicious and a healthier option. Many alcoholic cocktails listed in bars and restaurants can be made ‘virgin’ (alcohol free) by leaving out the alcoholic ingredient - just ask the bartender. By using fruit in your mocktails you can also contribute to your 5 a day. Watch out for sugar content though and try not to over indulge!

See below for some tasty recipe ideas.

Water The healthiest and cheapest option can’t be overlooked! It is a legal requirement for all licensed establishments (those that serve alcohol) in the UK to provide tap water free of charge. If you are having an alcoholic drink, it’s a good idea to order a glass of tap water at the same time to help you pace your drinking and keep you hydrated.

Mocktail Recipes


Mocktail Serving Suggestions

Easy...

The Arnold Palmer (Traditional)

  • ½ glass Lemonade

  • ½ glass Ice tea

Method: Pour both in a glass over ice - enjoy!


Gingerberry Zing (AHM Special)

  • ½ glass Cranberry juice

  • ½ glass Ginger ale

Method: Pour both in a glass over ice - enjoy!

A bit more effort...

Virgin Banana Piña Colada (Eatingwell.com)

  • 2 very ripe bananas

  • 1 cup diced fresh pineapple, plus 4 wedges for garnish

  • 1 cup pineapple juice

  • 1/2 cup “lite” coconut milk

  • 3 cups ice cubes

Method:

  1. Puree bananas, diced pineapple, pineapple juice, coconut milk and ice in a blender.

  2. Divide among 4 glasses.

  3. Garnish with pineapple wedges.


Virgin Mojito (BBC Good Food)

  • Glass full of crushed ice

  • ½ glass of Lemonade OR Ginger Ale

  • ¼ glass of apple juice

  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar

  • 8 sprigs of mint

  • 1 lime

Method:

  1. Mash the brown sugar with 4 sprigs of mint.

  2. Add a little apple juice as you mash.

  3. Add the apple juice, lemonade, 2 sprigs of mint and half the lime juice.

  4. Add 2 lime wedges to serve.


Flashy...

Green Jasmine-Mint Iced Tea with Lemon (Eatingwell.com)

  • 1/4 cup loose green jasmine tea, or 12 green jasmine tea bags

  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, plus more whole sprigs for garnish

  • 4 cups simmering water

  • 1/2 cup lemon juice

Method:

  1. Steep loose tea (or tea bags) and mint leaves in simmering (not boiling) water for 2 to 3 minutes.

  2. Strain the tea (or remove tea bags and mint leaves) and pour into a large pitcher.

  3. Stir in lemon juice and honey until the honey is dissolved. Add cold water.

  4. Refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours.

  5. Serve over ice with mint sprigs, if desired.

Spicy Watermelon Mint Agua Fresca (Thekitchykitchen.com)

  • 2 cups cold water

  • 2 cups watermelon (rind removed), seeded and chopped

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • Juice of 1/2 lime (no more than 1 tablespoon)

  • 1/4 cup mint leaves

  • 1/2 jalapeño, roughly chopped

  • Ice cubes or crushed ice (optional)

Method:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients and puree until smooth.

  2. Pour mixture through a strainer into a pitcher, forcing through most of the pulp.

  3. Chill and serve.


Our sources and for more information: https://www.nhs.uk https://drinkaware.co.uk/ https://alcoholchange.org.uk/

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