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Here I give you my top tips to keep nutrition tips to keep you healthy over the holidays, allowing you to enjoy everything Christmas has to offer without the sore head.

It’s hard to believe it’s that time of year again with the Christmas celebrations in full swing. It really is such a magical time for catching up with family and friends as well as taking that well deserved break from work. It’s also a chance for many of us let loose with banquets of food and the drinks flowing.

Here I give you my top tips to keep nutrition tips to keep you healthy over the holidays, allowing you to enjoy everything Christmas has to offer without the sore head.

If you do decide to have a few drinks over the Christmas break, this one’s for you and course it goes without saying, please drink responsibly.

1) Have A Good Meal: This may be an obvious one but it’s always wise to have a good meal prior to drinking (or the soakage as they say). Not alone will it line your stomach but it will slow the absorption of alcohol into your body.

2) Activated Charcoal: Would you believe that it’s not the alcohol that does the damage but the enzyme that alcohol produces called ‘acetaldehyde’. It’s actually this that makes us a little wobbly after those few drinks.  Activated charcoal tablets if taken before you have your first drink can help to absorb or mop the toxins or this enzyme from your body, which can also help to prevent a potentially sore head. These can be purchased in some pharmacies and health stores.

Recommended Supplement: Sona Activated Charcoal

3) Stay Hydrated: Why not alternate your drinks with water or a low-calorie soda between each drink, this allows you to pace yourself whilst keeping you hydrated. Not alone will it help prevent a sore head the next morning it will ensure you can enjoy your holidays without missing out on the fun stuff. Also, be sure to have a big glass of water before going to bed.

4) Milk Thistle – This is an amazing herbal remedy and liver cleanser, which is great at preventing and treating a sore head if you’ve had a few drinks or after overindulging in food. Best taken in liquid form (20 drops in a little amount of water before bedtime and first thing when you wake up)

Recommended Supplement: A.Vogel Milk Thistle Drops

5) Electrolytes: These are minerals or salts that play a number of important roles in regulating our body such as maintaining fluid balance, nerve function and muscle contraction to name a few. As alcohol can end up flushing our electrolytes out, it’s essential to replace them after having a few drinks.

Recommended Supplement: High 5 Zero Electrolytes (effervescent tablet, simply add to water)

5) Smoothies: If you have had a couple of drinks the night before, having a fruit-based smoothie will not alone help to repair some of the damage but it also provides you with a healthy form of fruit sugar to restore your blood sugar levels.

6) Plan Ahead: If you’re planning on being out and about the next day, remember that it takes one hour to clear one unit of alcohol, with 1 beer containing 2 units, a standard 35.5ml spirit measure containing 1 unit and a large (250ml) glass of wine containing 3 units)

7) Alcohol Alternatives: Of course, if you would rather enjoy the celebrations with alcohol free alternatives, here are some options for you too.

Alcohol Free Beers

- Guinness 0.0:  Guinness 0.0. is brewed using a new cold filtration process. This ensures you get the same beautifully smooth taste, perfectly balanced flavour and unique dark colour of Guinness Draught, just without the alcohol. The latest in 250 years of innovation, Guinness 0.0 is specially brewed to retain the characteristic flavours which make Guinness Draught Ireland's most popular beer.

- Heineken 0.0: Heineken master brewers started from zero and spent years exploring, brewing, and tasting before they finally created a non-alcoholic recipe defined by its refreshing fruity notes and soft malty body - perfectly balanced. Heineken 0.0 is made with top ingredients and Heineken’s unique A-Yeast.

- Dungarvan Main Sail: Dungarvan Main Sail is Ireland’s first micro-brewed alcohol-free beer, Main Sail Pale Ale. This beer has been developed to give a refreshing hoppy flavour without the alcohol content. Coming in at 0.4% abv it is defined as an alcohol-free product and can be enjoyed in place of a regular beer. Plenty of hops give a lively, refreshing citrus and herbal flavour to this light bodied pale ale.

- Erdinger Alcohol Free: Spicy malt notes harmonize excellently with caramel-sweet nuances. Enjoyment is enhanced by the stimulating bitterness of our aroma hops and a hint of light, fruity acidity. 0.5%

- Erdinger Alcohol Free Lemon: Slightly bitter non-alcoholic beer meets fruity lemon – perfect enjoyment for refreshment lovers. With its soft mal notes, our Alkoholfrei is the ideal partner for the aromas of sun-ripened lemons and their fruity, sharp freshness. 0.5%

- Birra Moretti Zero Non-Alcoholic: The ultimate Italian lager, Birra Moretti's special blend of high-quality hops creates a smooth, full bodied beer with wholemeal bread top notes which are cut by a delicate citrus note.

- BrewDog Punk AF Alcohol Free IPA: Juicy tropical fruit mixes it up with grassy and pine notes. All sitting on a solid malt bassline. Full flavour, no alcohol, all Punk.

Christmas Gift Idea: If you’re looking for a gift. The Crú have a great No/Low Alcohol Craft Beer Gift Set, containing a curated selection that celebrates the taste of craft beers without the alcohol content. Perfect for those who enjoy the flavour of beer but prefer a non-alcoholic or low-alcoholic option, this set promises an authentic beer experience in a mixture of bottles and cans. Check it out at:

Alcohol Free Ciders

- Bulmers Irish Cider Zero Alcohol: Crafted from the perfect blend of 17 varieties of delicious Irish apples harvested from our sun-drenched orchards in the heart of Co. Tipperary. Pressed and matured in Clonmel to a recipe that's over 80 years old. Crisp and refreshing Bulmers Original Irish Cider - but with 30% fewer calories.

- Cronin’s Cider 0.0% 330ml: Cronin’s Cider 0.0% is the alcohol-free version of Cronin’s extraordinarily crisply refreshing cider made from all natural ingredients. Gluten free and vegan friendly. No Artificial Colours or Flavourings. Only 89 Calories per bottle.

- Mac Ivors Alcohol Free Irish Cider: Our innovative alcohol-free Cider is a subtle blend of mature ciders with the fresh juice of our fragrant dessert apples. With its pale straw colour and delicate bubbles, it miraculously packs real cider flavour but without the alcohol. Light, refreshing, medium dry and only 76 calories.

- Kopparberg Alcohol-Free Premium Cider with Strawberry & Lime: A refreshing and fruity alcohol-free cider with a lovely hit of lime.

- Kopparberg Premium Cider Alcohol-Free with Mixed Fruit: Another sweet and refreshing and fruity alcohol-free cider alternative.

Alcohol Free Gins

- Silk Tree Alcohol Free Gin: An alcohol-free gin which has been distilled with Ceylon cinnamon, coriander seeds, orange peel, juniper berries, lemon verbena. Try with tonic and ice, a great alternative to your standard G&T and it’s made in Ireland too!

- Cedar's Distilled Non Alcoholic Gin: Cedar's Distilled Non-Alcoholic Gin is exactly as it says on the bottle, alcohol-free! It is created using exotic South African botanicals found exclusively in the Cederberg Mountains of the Western Cape and is blended with pure Swedish water.

- Cedar's Rose Non-Alcoholic Gin: Created using natural botanicals including juniper, rose and hibiscus, this alcohol-free gin from Cedar is also vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free and contains just 2Kcal per 50ml serve. A crisp, refreshing gin with juniper at the forefront complemented by floral notes of rose and sweet hibiscus.

- Tanqueray 0%: All the delicious taste of Tanqueray without any of the guilt! This alcohol-free gin is made with four botanicals and is citrus and juniper-forward. Best enjoyed with plenty of ice, premium tonic water, and garnished with a wedge of lime, but it also makes the perfect base for a wide range of alcohol-free cocktails.

- Gordons 0.0% Alcohol Free Spirit: New Gordon's 0.0% provides the bold, piney juniper led character you'd expect from Gordon's. Gordon's 0.0% delivers a truly authentic, vibrant non-alcoholic experience that captures the spirit of Gordons perfectly.

Alcohol Free Vodka

- STRYKK Not Vodka: This non-alcoholic vodka is distilled with the same flavour profile as the vodka you love - that means a subtle sweetness combined with the aromatic flavours of lemongrass and capsicum. Blended with a mix of botanicals and herbs, Strykk Not Vodka is 100% natural. Creating the flavour you love with no calories, no added sugar, and no artificial flavours.

- STRYKK Not Vanilla Vodka: This pioneering Strykk Not Vanilla Vodka is infused with Madagascan vanilla beans. A sweet toffee and buttery aroma with a warming capsicum finish. 100% natural with no sugar, no fat and no artificial flavours. Distilled and bottled in the UK.

Alcohol Free Rum

- CleanCo CleanRum: CleanRum is distilled in exactly the same way as traditional golden spiced rum - delivering undertones of caramel and cayenne pepper - but with over 30 times less alcohol.

Alcohol Champagne & Sparkling Wine

- Nozeco or Nozeco Rose: The Perfect Drink Made from Alcohol-Removed Wine with a natural Grape profile with fine & elegant bubbles. It’s also vegan Friendly!

Alcohol Free Wines

- Mcguigan Zero Shiraz or Zero Alcohol Free Rose Wine: Free from alcohol, full in flavour, McGuigan Zero is the UK’s number 1 still non-alcoholic wine brand. The flavour profiles and characteristics of each variety are as you would expect, proving that you don’t need alcohol to enjoy a full-flavoured experience in a glass.


This is not only alcohol free but kombucha is great for your gut health too!

- SynerChi Live Kombucha: Synerchi Kombucha are the first and still the best Organic Kombucha Drinks in Ireland. The company is located in Gweedore, Co. Donegal where they produce a range of delicious organic live kombucha drinks. They have a range including 6 flavours: Original Sencha, Ginger & Lemongrass, Raspberry & Rosehip, Oranges & Lemons, Pear, Coconut & Pineapple

- All About Kombucha: Ireland's Only Carbon Neutral Kombucha Brewery. Serving cans of unpasteurised, LIVE and organic kombucha since 2017 – hand-canned and brewed in Galway, Ireland. With a range of flavours in Raspberry, Ginger + Lemon or Blueberry + Mint. They are available in a range of cafes across Ireland.

Christmas Gift Idea: For the food lovers why not check out the All About Kombucha Deluxe Kombucha Brewing Kit here:

The Apple Farm Mulled Apple Juice

If you fancy the taste of mulled wine without with wine I absolutely love the taste of this one, “this delicious mulled juice can be served hot to warm the coldest bodies. Apple juice, cinnamon, cloves, and some secret ingredients (but no alcohol) makes this a real winter favourite”.  The Apple Farm is located just outside Cahir Co. Tipperary or you can check them out on their website here:

So Christmas is well and truly upon us and with it comes plenty of lovely food, drinks and nights out catching up with friends and family. Let's not forget the hard work that we've put in all year with many of us working out and carefully watching our food.

It's of course a time to celebrate and as a foodie I do like to enjoy my treats too. So the good news is that it's possible to enjoy all the fabulous things that Christmas has to offer without going into the new year with regrets over eating too many minced pies. I'm a firm believer in everything in moderation but also opting for healthier alternatives when possible.

To help you through here is a guide on Healthy Eating for the Christmas Holidays

       1. Eating out at Christmas

When eating out at Christmas it's always a good idea to research the restaurant's menu in advance, this is particularly helpful if you have specific dietary preferences such as intolerances or allergies (this way you can phone ahead and organise a special meal if required).

Researching the menu will also give you an idea of what they have to offer if your watching those calories, in which case it may be an idea to have a small low calorie snack before heading out so we don't over eat rich restaurant food. It's best to avoid the temptation of additional breads and the hidden calories in sauces which accompany many meals.

        2. Watch the Drinks

There's no doubt we'll be indulging in a few drinks over the Christmas holidays, however it's often easy to underestimate liquid calories and it all adds up. A hot chocolate with cream and syrup could provide as much as 400 calories, whilst a healthier alternative may be a hot chocolate with non fat milk without the cream and extras with almost half the amount of calories.

Alcohol can also quickly add to our energy intake and it's easy consume our daily energy requirement in a few drinks. For instance a shared bottle of wine could contribute to around 340 calories each, 2 gin and tonics provide around 150 calories, 2 rum and cokes almost 170 calories, whilst 4% ABV pint of lager can contain approximately 180 calories, which describe as being similar to that of a large slice of pizza!

You can check out my Christmas Party Recovery Tips here

       3. Watch the Portion Sizes

Us Irish are renowned for our HUGE portion sizes with our eyes often bigger than our bellies. With Christmas dinner probably being our biggest feast of the year we can often get a little carried away with trying to not only stuff the turkey but ourselves too.

It is possible to enjoy our lovely Christmas meal without rolling out of our seats afterward by simply watching our portion sizes. So a portion of protein i.e. turkey and/or ham should be the size of the palm of our hand or a deck of cards. A portion of vegetables the size of our fist (we can have 2 portions of these) and a portion of potatoes (can't forget the spuds) are again the size of our fist or a lightbulb.

       4. Slow down

This comes to both food and drink. It's a better idea to pace ourselves with the bevies, alternating between water/soda in between each drink, that way you wont burn out and sleep through the festivities ;).

With food, again us Irish are famous for devouring our meals really quickly. If we manage to slow down we can avoid some of that overeating food coma feeling and give our bodies a chance to register that they're full. It should take 20 minutes to eat a meal so keep this in mind. We also often feel the need to devour all this lovely food in one sitting, but it's a great idea to spread out your courses and allow ourselves to savour each dish, especially after all of the effort put into them.

      5. Exercise

As tempting as it is to roll around the living room with a glass of mulled wine feeling like you have a food baby, getting out for a post dinner walk helps to aid your digestion, burn a few calories and hey you may get an appetite for more food afterwards.

       6. Enjoy

Most importantly, make sure and take time to enjoy yourself.

As they say

"Good Food and Good Company are Amongst Life's Simplest Yet Greatest Pleasures"

Wishing everyone a healthy and happy Christmas,

Laurann 🙂


About Us 

Laurann has an Honours BSc. Degree in Human Nutrition from the University of Nottingham, a Masters in Public Health Nutrition from University College Dublin, is an Associate Nutritionist with the Nutrition Society London, a professional member of the Celiac Society Ireland, is registered with the Institute of Public Health Ireland and fully insured.

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