Easy drink swaps
You can still have a drink – just aim to have less, gradually, and stick within the guidelines. Our easy swap ideas can make it easy for you to cut down on alcohol instead of cutting it out altogether.
- If you tend to have a drink at a certain time of day, break the habit by doing something different at that time. If you drink every day, try to have at least two days a week when you don’t drink at all.
- Why not try pacing and spacing? Pace yourself by sipping slowly and enjoy the taste. And space your drinks out - have a soft drink or glass of water in between.
- Have a smaller bottle of beer instead of a can. Or a single instead of a double.
- Swap your usual for a drink with less alcohol. Choose one with less alcohol content (“ABV” - you can find this on the side of the bottle or can). There are more drinks with less alcohol available these days and some of them are cheaper too – and they often have less calories.
If you like a drink at home
Don’t drink on an empty stomach – having it with food means that the alcohol is absorbed into your system more slowly. Try only drinking with your main meal. Don’t have the bottle on the table – just pour one glass and put the bottle away.
Out of house, out of mind
If it’s in the house, you’re more likely to drink it. Avoid stocking-up on alcohol when you’re doing the shopping.
If having a glass tends to mean drinking the whole bottle, try putting a label on the bottle saying “just one glass”…
... or, you could try using a bottle stopper instead.
Measure by measure
Buy a drinks measure to check how much you’re really drinking. Pouring your own means you’re likely to drink more. A small glass of wine is 125ml.
When you get the urge to pour yourself a glass, resist it by doing something completely different instead. Go for a walk, phone a friend, do some odd jobs around the house.
And when you're out...
- Change of scene - try meeting somewhere that doesn’t serve alcohol. Try a café or coffee shop, or somewhere without an alcohol licence instead.
- Make a plan - set yourself a limit on how much you’re going to drink, including any drinks you have at home before you go out. Try to stick within the lower risk guidelines.
- Budget - take out a fixed amount of money to spend on alcohol. By cutting back you could save some cash - use our drinks checker to see how much.
- Take your time – go out later. Break with tradition and opt out of rounds.
- Don’t feel pressured to keep up with others – aim to be the slowest drinker!
- Have a good excuse ready when you’re offered a drink you’d rather miss. The quicker you can make it, the less likely you are to be persuaded.
- Sit it out – we drink more slowly when sitting down than when standing. Find a table and put your glass down.
- Enjoy yourself! Do something else while you’re out, like dancing, playing pool or darts – it’s much more fun!
Try something new
If you drink every day, having at least two days a week when you don't drink alcohol means you've got more time to do something different
Alternatives to drinking