Toasting your health: tips for sensible drinking

Eating Well

December 17, 1996|By Colleen Pierre | Colleen Pierre,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Put some ice cubes in a tall glass. Pour in 4 ounces of tonic

water. Then slowly add 4 ounces of cranberry juice cocktail. Pour it so gently that it just sits on top of the tonic. Squeeze in a bright green wedge of lime for a festive holiday "Welcome!" that saves the winter wine to be enjoyed with dinner.

And while you're sipping your drink and celebrating with family and friends, give some thought to these guidelines for sensible wine drinking developed by the Oldways Preservation & Exchange Trust, a group dedicated to enjoying traditional healthy diets from around the world.

Wine should be consumed by healthy adults only in moderation. Wine should be consumed as part of social, family, celebratory or other occasions, but not as their central focus. Wine is best consumed with food or around mealtimes.

Society as a whole and families should accept the responsibility for teaching all people, including the young, about sensible wine drinking, because education helps prevent alcohol abuse.

Moderate, nondisruptive drinking is socially acceptable, while excessive drinking and any resulting behavior that violates legal or social standards are unacceptable. Parents who drink should drink sensibly, presenting themselves as examples of moderation, the guidelines say.

Wine drinking should follow clear, consistent and sensible customs that emphasize moderation and discourage binge drinking. The choice of abstinence for any religious, health or personal reasons must be respected. Wine drinkers should know the difference between moderate use and abuse, and drinking must be avoided in situations where it puts the individual or others at risk. Wine should be consumed slowly to enhance the taste of food and to add to the enjoyment of everyday living.

Although Oldways is mostly focused on wine, you could easily apply those same guidelines to other alcoholic beverages as well.

The U.S. Dietary Guidelines define moderate drinking as one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. One drink is a 5-ounce glass of wine (100 calories), 12 ounces of regular beer (150 calories) or 1 1/2 ounces 80-proof distilled spirits (100 calories).

The Automobile Association of America (AAA) would be delighted if you followed those guidelines. AAA would like me to remind you that statistics show that 45 percent of holiday traffic fatalities are alcohol-related.

You can throw a great party and not contribute to the tragedy of a drunken-driving crash when your guests leave by following these tips:

Don't force alcoholic drinks on your guests. Serve a variety of nonalcoholic beverages. Serve protein-rich and starchy foods throughout the evening to help retard alcohol absorption. Slow down the drinking rate of your guests with lively talk and party games. Put away alcohol when it gets late and bring out the coffee and dessert. Encourage car pooling. Give a small gift to all designated drivers. Take keys, call a cab or insist that a guest who has had too much to drink sleep overnight at your home.

E9 AAA suggests this frosty drink with a seasonal flair:

White zin raspberry fooler

Combine 4 ounces nonalcoholic white zinfandel, 1 ounce raspberry daiquiri mix, 2 1/2 ounces lemon-lime soft drink, 1/2 ounce grenadine and 1 teaspoon sugar. Stir and serve with a smile!

Colleen Pierre, a registered dietitian, is the nutrition consultant at the Union Memorial Sports Medicine Center and Vanderhorst & Associates in Baltimore.

Pub Date: 12/17/96

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.