Healthier Options for Holiday Drinks

‘Tis the season for festive drinks! There’s nothing quite like sipping hot chocolate by the fireplace, or a toasting with a glass of champagne at a holiday party. It’s great to enjoy a seasonal beverage, but be careful because too many holiday drinks can hurt your health.

Sugar-Loaded Culprits

Christmas ales and eggnog may be iconic, but too many may negatively impact on your blood sugar and lipid levels. Alcohol can cause an increase in triglycerides (the fat that circulates in your blood) that can contribute to heart disease.  And while a glass of red wine can promote heart health, other drinks (think spiced cider and peppermint martinis) are loaded with sugar that can elevate your blood glucose levels.

This is important to be aware of even if you’re not diabetic, because it can cause a blood sugar spike (and subsequent crash) and will leave you fatigued and cranky. Finally, thanks to its inhibition-lowering effect, your well-intentioned decision to pass on decadent desserts may go out the window after a drink or two.

If you need a boost before your holiday shopping, choose coffee carefully. Coffee has its benefits but can be loaded with excess sugar and calories. A large frozen hot chocolate from a Toledo coffee shop contains 599 calories–that’s the calorie equivalent of a meal!

While one beverage isn’t going to tip the scale, frequent consumption coupled with the abundance of rich holiday foods will. And just like with sugary alcoholic drinks, the rapid rise and fall in blood sugar will zap your holiday spirit.

Healthier Options

If it’s just not the holidays without these drinks, there are a few things you can do:

  • Opt for smaller sizes.
    Choose 8 ounces of a gingerbread latte instead of 32.
  • Skip the alcohol.
    Alcohol has 7 calories per gram (almost double that of carbohydrate), so making a mocktail will inherently make the drink lighter. Check out these delicious mocktail recipes for inspiration: Merry Mimosas and Chocolate Peppermint Martinis.
  • Get moving!
    Aim for 30 minutes most days of the week for a healthy body, clear mind and a good mood.
  • Go light.
    Use diet sodas or seltzer water as drink mixers and ask for skim milk or almond milk in coffee drinks.

Healthier “Eggnog Latte”

Try this healthier version of a holiday treat.

Find more healthy eating tips