Watching the football with some drinks? Here's how to enjoy yourself and stay healthy

Football on TV
Published: 8 December 2023
Filed under: Public Health

If you're watching the football with some drinks this summer, That's great! Connecting with culture and people are some of the best ways to maintain happiness and wellbeing.

For your short-term and long-term health, it's important not go overboard with alcohol. There's a certain amount of alcohol our bodies can handle before it starts harming us, short and long-term. Check the NHS website for details on the risks of drinking too much.

Cutting back on booze can be a really effective way to improve your health, boost your energy, and even save some money. If you want to enjoy a drink or two and stay safe and healthy, here are some practical tips and tools to help you start cutting down today...

1. Keep score

We all know that doctors say you shouldn’t drink more than 14 units per week. But what does that look like? Download the DrinkCoach app to track how much alcohol you’re actually drinking each day or week. You can also keep an eye on your spending and set yourself helpful reminders to make sure you don’t go overboard. 

Through the DrinkCoach app you can also access free and confidential coaching sessions with a specialist who can support you in finding ways to reduce your drinking or signpost you to more targeted help if you need it. 

2. Run through your Game Plan before kick-off

Set yourself a limit and let your friends know: it’ll be easier to stick to it, and you won’t feel pressured to stay for more than you want to if you’ve already set expectations. You can also use the DrinkCoach app to set yourself a weekly unit target and track your drinking. But if one week you do go over your limit, don't stop trying – next week is a fresh start.

3. Switch it! Switch it!

Choose drinks that are lower in alcohol. As a rule of thumb, white and rosé wines are lower in strength than reds, and many beers are now under 4% abv. Maybe you could swap some drinks for zero-alcohol alternatives; you can find a useful list of units below.

4. Half-time oranges (and more)

Don’t drink on an empty stomach. Before you start drinking, have a meal that includes carbohydrates (such as pasta or rice) and/or fats. You’ll feel more full, and the food will also help slow down your body's absorption of alcohol, helping with how you feel the next day, too.

5. Make like Danny and Drinkwater

Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it causes dehydration. Alternating between alcoholic drinks and water can help rehydrate you and limit the amount of alcohol you consume. And, like food, it can also help with how you feel the following day.

6. Play your own game

Being involved in rounds makes it difficult to stick to the amount you meant to. Try to avoid getting into a round if you can and buy your own drinks to help keep to your limit. Do not feel like you have to say yes to a drink just because someone else is buying: there’s always next time!

7. Close the transfer window

According to a study commissioned by the charity Alcohol Change UK, the average drinker in the UK spends around £62,899 on alcohol in a lifetime. Setting aside a budget for alcohol can be a good way to help you drink less. 

If you are going out, try taking only the exact cash, or set up a spending alert on your card. The DrinkCoach app can also help you monitor your spending.

8. Keep your eye on the ball

If a drink is a way for you to handle boredom or stress, try finding something else to do instead. Exercise, at any intensity, is a great stress reliever. You you can also check out our Five Ways to Wellbeing, simple tips to keep well in Waltham Forest.  

Occupying mind and body with things like a new hobby or DIY can also be a good way to keep busy.

And remember, going for drinks is not the only way to see friends or celebrate. You could go for a meal, grab a coffee and go for a walk in one of our lovely parks, or find a fun activity to do together.

Let's talk about units

The NHS recommends drinking no more than 14 units of alcohol a week, spread across three days or more. That's around six medium (175ml) glasses of wine, or five pints of 5% beer.

While there isn’t a completely safe level of drinking, sticking within these guidelines can lower your risk of harming your health. 

If you’re unsure whether your drinking is potentially harming your health, try out the DrinkCoach alcohol test to learn more.

How many units are in your favourite drinks

  • Pint of beer or cider (5% vol): 2.8 units
  • Mixer with a double shot of spirit (40% vol): 2 units
  • Bottle (275ml) of alcopop (4% vol): 1.1 units
  • Medium (175ml) glass of wine (13% vol): 2.3 units
  • Flute glass (125ml) of prosecco (12% vol): 1.5 units

Download the DrinkCoach app to track how many units you’re drinking in real-time. You can also visit the DrinkCoach website to find out how many units are in each drink.

More alcohol support

  • Visit our alcohol misuse support pages to find out more about how to cut back and the support available
  • Through the DrinkCoach app you can access up to six free and confidential coaching sessions with a specialist to help you reduce your alcohol and get the support you need.
  • If you feel like you need more specific and targeted support, our partners at Change Grow Live (CGL) Waltham Forest offer expert, free and confidential help.