5 Alternatives to Dry January

7 January 2015

Obviously we can be accused of being a little biased here, but at Late Night London we really do think that 'Dry January' is a terrible idea.

January is a cold, dark and miserable month with no Christmas shaped light at the end of the tunnel, you need a drink to get through it. And if you don't treat yourself to a night out every so often then take it from us - January will feel like it goes on forever.

The other crazy thing about giving up the drink in January is that now is when all the best deals are. We all know about the sales on the high street, but half priced cocktails? Now we're talking. You can get 50% off all food and drink at Late Night London venues in January just by downloading this voucher. 50% off is practically free.

But I certainly appreciate the appeal in starting a new year with a month long challenge, so aside from the exceptionally obvious 'Go To The Gym At Some Point January' and 'Maybe Finally Stop Smoking Yourself to Death January' here are five other ways you can make this boring month pass, all without giving up the booze...

1. 5 A Day January

You may think that you're getting enough fruit and veg, but if you track it properly you may find a pretty embarrassing deficit of vitamin C. Swap your lazy morning tipple of Tropicana and Berocca for a more natural approach and actually eat your fruit and veg like you should. A variety of fruits and vegetables, five times a day, no excuses. And no, potatoes don't count.

Get a good overview of what counts as a portion size here. No cheating.

2. Caffeine Free January.


This one is arguably the hardest, but a month free of caffeine is definitely a challenge at least. The benefits of 'kicking the coffee habit' are well documented, with better sleep, better digestion, lower levels of stress and higher energy levels all being reported (and that's real energy too, rather than the artificial high after an espresso). You'll no doubt save a pretty penny too if you usually rely on trips to Starbucks and Costa to get you through the day. Need another reason to quit? Fans of sugary, milky coffees will inevitably lose weight by giving up their caffeine fix too. You may feel a bit headachey at first depending on how addicted to caffeine you really are (is that not scary in itself?!) but people who power through the withdrawal all seem to rave about the benefits, even if they do go back to the odd cup of coffee eventually. 

Just make sure you don't fall at the first hurdle by ordering a mug of coffee with your fry up on New Year's Day morning.

3. Packed Lunch January


Most of us will be feeling pretty damn broke after a month of partying and gift-giving in December, so committing to a month of packed lunches could be the easy solution to saving a fair bit across the month. If you'd normally head to Pret each day you could easily save £100 over the month by switching to packed lunches instead, perhaps a lot more depending on how extravagant you usually go at lunchtime. There are plenty of blogs and forum posts dedicated to packed lunch inspo, so don't punish yourself with miserable ham sandwiches week in and week out. Start to cook in the evenings with the aim of creating leftovers for lunches and rotate your favourite ideas so you don't get bored.

The key to making packed lunches 'work' is to still go out for ten minutes at lunch as you would have had you popped over to Itsu. Nobody wants to be chained to their desk all day and whilst it's not exactly 'eat your packed lunch on a park bench' weather, the fresh air is a nice break from the office.

4. Vegetarian January


Can you give up meat and fish for a month? I've seen a surprising uptake on this one by my friends. Clearly they they've decided that giving up bacon is preferable to giving up vodka. The health benefits of vegetarianism are a matter of much heated debate (did you watch Should I Eat Meat? this summer?!) but whether it's better for you long term or not, giving up meat for a month is definitely a challenge and you'll no doubt learn some fab new veggie recipes along the way. 

Want something more hardcore? Try Veganuary, where you go full on vegan for the month instead. 

5. Breakfast At Home January

If you're one of those "I'll just grab a croissant and cappuccino on my way to the office oh and maybe a Twix" types then you'll save both money and calories by having breakfast at home. Breakfast is one of the few things that the experts are united are on: you should definitely have it. It's too tempting in London to get breakfast to eat at your desk or on your commute but getting up ten minutes earlier and eating at home will save you cash and means you'll definitely start your day off right. I buy a cereal variety pack to keep things exciting and nostalgic. 

Tempted by one of the challenges above? Download your 50% off all food and drink voucher here and reward yourself with a stiff drink. After all, it is January.

Poppy Dinsey Late Night London

Poppy Dinsey

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