A Nutritionist's Take on Non-Alcoholic Drinks
If you’re considering quitting drinking or cutting back on your alcohol intake (or already have), chances are you’ve seen the variety of non-alcoholic drinks (also known as “Mocktails”) on Instagram, restaurant menus, and even at your grocery store or local market.
When navigating a restaurant or bar menu, options might be limited. However, ordering from an online shop with hundreds of options, like Boisson, can make the choice even more looming.
With so many new non-alcoholic drink options on the menu today, it can be overwhelming to choose which ones to try. So you may be wondering how to evaluate the options or how to choose which ones support your health and sobriety goals.
As a Doctor of Nutrition who specializes in sobriety, changing your relationship with alcohol, and healing from the damage from long-term alcohol use, I have many considerations when it comes to choosing a non-alcoholic beverage.
Let’s talk about how I evaluate my N/A options so that I can help guide your decision-making:
How much sugar is in it?
Sugar is one of the biggest considerations when I am choosing an alcohol-free drink. Yes, we’ve come a long way from our only alcohol-free option being soda, but that doesn’t mean that these drinks are low-sugar. In fact, some of them can pack as much as 20g of added sugar (which is about half of your daily recommendation BTW). Others are more modest, presenting minimal amounts of sugar, and are sweetened using juices instead of cane sugar. I suggest looking for drinks that are 5g or less in sugar or consider consuming half and adding seltzer to cut the amount of sugar.
What are the ingredients?
Choose Functional Ingredients:
Ingredients like L-theanine, Ashwagandha, and others are being used in these functional beverages to help provide feelings of relaxation or uplift, depending on the goal of the drink. These give your beverage a bit of a nutritional boost by adding in herbs or supplements that can aid in improved feelings of heightened mood, more energy, or support taking the edge off after a long day.
Avoid Harmful ingredients:
In my previous roles working with start-up food, supplement, and wellness companies, one of my main goals has been “cleaning up” ingredient statements and helping to limit the use of artificial and chemical ingredients in what we eat and drink. I always recommend avoiding products that contain chemical preservatives, like Potassium Sorbate and Sodium Benzoate; artificial sweeteners, like sucralose; and artificial colorants (like Blue #6, Red #40, Yellow #5, etc).
What ‘type’ of drink is it?
In the case of non-alcoholic drinks, be mindful that these can be triggering to some. To avoid being triggered by a N/A drink, I suggest heading for a unique flavor rather than something that mimics alcohol. Fake liquors, fake margaritas, and even alcohol-free wines can be too close for comfort. As an ex-wine drinker, I find that the non-alc wines are a bit too close for comfort. If you had a particular “choice” drink, I suggest avoiding it even in its non-alcoholic format
Instead, I prefer a flavor that doesn’t necessarily represent a flavor of alcohol (like Ghia drinks, Kin, or Hiyo).
… And if all else fails? A good old La Croix or seltzer is always a good choice :) :)
An important takeaway:
When choosing N/A drinks or mocktails at a bar or restaurant, I highly suggest confirming that it is in-fact alcohol free. There have been instances where even though a mocktail was ordered from a menu, they instead received a drink containing alcohol. For this reason, a canned beverage can be a “safe bet” if they are offered. Always double-check with your server!
Here are some of my favorite “Dr. Brooke Approved” n/a drinks:
Curious Elixirs (No. 3 and No. 7)
Hiyo (Blueberry Lemon)
Drink Moment (Cherry Hibiscus)
To purchase these or to explore more options, head over to Boisson for nationwide delivery >>
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