‘Tis the season to be jolly…but healthy too

The festive season is known for making us overindulge in food and alcohol. One can always lose the extra kilos gained over this period, but excess alcohol intake is a different story.

What are the recommendations when it comes to alcohol intake? The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends one drink for women and two drinks for men per day. No saving them all for the weekend. So, what exactly is considered as one drink?

• 1 small glass of wine (125ml).

• 1 lite beer.

• 1 tot of spirits.

Tips for smart drinking

• Make sure you quench your thirst with a non-alcoholic drink, and rather enjoy your glass of wine with a meal.

• Dilute your drink – make a beer shandy with diet lemonade, or add plenty of ice and a bit of sparkling water to your wine.

• Use tall glasses to mix your spirits with soda water or a diet cold drink.

For the teetotallers

• Staying well hydrated during the summer festive season is very important. Your body can get confused between hunger and thirst very easily; if you drink enough fluid and you still feel hungry, then you know you are really hungry.

• You need to drink 30ml of fluid per kilogram of your body weight. For example, if you weigh 70kg, you need to drink around two litres of fluid per day.

Good liquid choices

• Add flavour to your drinking water by adding lemon, mint, strawberries, cucumber slices or any other fruit you have in the fridge.

• Drink tea and coffee in moderation – rooibos or herbal/fruit teas are caffeine-free and can be counted as water.

• Make your own iced tea (see recipe on right).

• If you are diabetic, please buy the sugar-free diet cold drink options available.

• Always dilute fruit juice, by at least 50%, with water or sparkling water.

Mint Green Rooibos Iced Tea Recipe

antioxidant rich and caffeine-free


1 cup fresh mint leaves, washed

4 green rooibos tea bags


Honey or sweetener

Fresh lavender leaves (optional)


Crush mint leaves gently with clean hands. Place them in a large jug. Add tea bags, and pour hot water over top (about 1 to 1,5 litres). Add 1 tsp honey or 2 sachets of sweetener to sweeten. Cover and refrigerate for 4-6 hours. Remove tea bags. Add plenty of ice and a few lavender leaves, if you have them on hand.


Berna Harmse is a private practicing dietitian in Cape Town, she holds a MSc in Dietetics and has a special interest in oncology nutrition. She is also an external lecturer at Stellenbosch University Division of Human Nutrition.

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