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Don't Let Alcohol Spoil Your Holiday Celebrations

Don't Let Alcohol Spoil Your Holiday Celebrations

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By    |   Friday, 16 December 2016 12:31 PM

The winter holiday season is in full swing, and that means parties and celebrations  – and alcoholic beverages. But for many Americans drinking too much leads to tragic consequences on the road between Christmas and New Year's Day.

More than 103 million Americans are expected to be traveling between now and January 2. Statistics show that 40 percent of traffic-related deaths during the period between Christmas and New Year’s involve alcohol-impaired drivers.

That's a 12 percent increase, compared to during the rest of the year, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) says.

This year, there are more ways than ever before to make sure you’re safe to take the wheel.

Until a few years ago, no one outside of law enforcement or the medical field had access to devices that could analyze blood alcohol content. But now  more than 100 consumer models are available.

Portable breathalyzers are smaller and cheaper than ever, and can range from more than $100 to as little as $29.99, according to a recent listing on Amazon.com.

There are also devices that plug into the audio headphone jack of many Smartphones, to turn those devices into breathalyzers as well. The cost of these devices is similar to that of the portable versions.

You should never rely on these devices to give you the final word on whether drinking may impair your driving; if you have to wonder about it, best not to get behind the wheel, law enforcement officials say.

If you’re making the rounds of holiday parties, your goal should be to stay safe by consuming less alcohol, says Vicki Shanta Retelny.

“There are many reasons to eliminate – or cut down on – alcohol during the Christmas season. Some people can’t drink, others may be watching their calories – and alcohol is fattening, and others want to imbibe a little, but still be able to drive safely,” notes Retelny, a registered dietician and author, as well as TV lifestyle expert.

Here are Retelny’s addition tips for cutting down on alcohol when your attending – or hosting – a holiday party:

  • Plan ahead of time the number of drinks you are going to have – and stick to it.
  • Drink water before you go to the party to make sure you are well hydrated.
  • Cut the alcohol content of wine by adding club soda to turn it into a wine spritzer.
  • Keep an eye on serving size. A glass of wine, for instance, is five ounces.
  • Think about the reason you’re at the party – to socialize with friends, not just to drink or eat.
  • Don’t stand and talk with a drink in your hand. Put down your glass while socializing.
  • Avoid drinks that combine more than one type of liquor, such as Long Island Iced Tea, or a Manhattan. These are much more potent than drinks containing a single type of alcohol.
  • Know your alcohol limit. Women’s bodies break down alcohol differently than men, and so typically they are affected more it. This is also true for people who are older, as the ability to handle alcohol can diminish with age.

Another favorite tip from Retelny is to serve “mocktails,” or non-alcoholic cocktails.

“People who can’t drink alcohol can drink ‘mocktails’ exclusively, or if you are cutting down, alternate them with alcoholic beverages,” says Retelny.

Here are Retelny’s favorite additions that turn sparkling water into “mocktails”:

  • A splash of pomegranate juice, along with sliced apples, mandarin oranges and cranberries.
  • Freshly squeezed orange, shaved ginger root and cranberries.
  • Squeezed lime plus a few fresh mint leaves.
  • Some sparkling red grape juice or apple cranberry juice.

Serve ‘“mocktails” in champagne flutes or other similar glassware so that everyone feels like they are participating in the festivities.


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The holidays season is here, which means lots of fun, parties and also - unfortunately - a rise in traffic accidents due to drunk driving. Here are tips on how to have fun without letting alcohol spoil the party.
Christmas, New Years Eve, alcohol, drunk, driving
Friday, 16 December 2016 12:31 PM
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