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One of the best parts about the holiday season are the seasonal beverages, a.k.a holiday drinks. While it’s fine to enjoy your favorite holiday drinks, going overboard can tip the scales against your health and fitness goals. The good news? Simple modifications can turn an indulgent festive drink into a healthier treat. 

In this blog post, we help you stay on track with practical tips that make it easy to enjoy the best holiday drinks that the season has to offer. Plus, seven dietitian-approved healthy holiday drinks ranging from classic, to caffeinated, and even boozy beverages.

How To Make Holiday Drinks Healthier

The key to staying on track with your healthy lifestyle during the holidays is to strike a balance between enjoying your favorite beverages and making mindful choices to keep your health on track.

Balance means there is room to enjoy holiday drinks in their classic form (in moderation, of course) without having to feel guilty. But for those of you that are looking for healthy spin on holiday refreshments, check out these three dietitian-curated tips:

  1. Sweeten with honey, dates, or agave nectar instead of cane sugar. These sweeteners have a lower glycemic index than regular sugar meaning they will cause smaller spikes in your blood sugar levels.
  2. Use sparkling water as a base for holiday cocktails and mocktails. These bubbly beverages can save you a ton of the added sugar that most fruit juices and sodas provide. 
  3. Hold or ask for light whip cream if you’re indulging in hot chocolate or a festive coffee drink. You’ll be surprised at how many calories you can save by skipping the whip cream.

Now, let’s toast the season with these seven healthy holiday drinks. 

7 Healthy Holiday Drinks

Easy Holiday eggnog

Enjoy a healthier version of eggnog with less sugar and fat content without giving up a rich and creamy flavor. 

Makes: 4 servings

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 cups unsweetened milk of choice
  • 4 large egg yolks 
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (optional, for added creaminess)
Healthy Holiday Drink Egg Nog

How To Make:

  1.  In a saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks and combine honey, and a pinch of salt over low heat. Continuously whisk until the mixture thickens slightly, typically about 5 minutes. Be careful not to overheat and curdle the eggs. Remove from heat and let it cool.
  2. In a separate saucepan and over low-medium heat, heat the milk until it’s hot but not boiling. Stir occasionally. You can also heat it in the microwave for about 2 minutes.
  3. Slowly stir in the hot milk to the egg mixture, whisking constantly to combine. This helps to temper the eggs which prevents curdling.
  4. Return the mixture to the stovetop and cook over low heat. Stir constantly until it thickens slightly. This should take another 5-7 minutes. Do not let it boil.
  5. After removing from heat, stir in the vanilla extract, ground nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice. 
  6. If you want a creamier eggnog, add Greek yogurt and whisk until smooth.
  7. Allow the eggnog to cool. Once cooled, transfer it to the refrigerator and chill for a few hours until it is cold.
  8. Serve on the rocks and garnish with a sprinkle of ground nutmeg and a cinnamon stick.

Healthy Holiday Hot Cocoa

Hot cocoa is the perfect way to stay warm during winter activities. It’s one of our favorite holiday drinks! Here’s a simple and healthy twist on a classic hot cocoa recipe.

holiday healthy drinks

Makes: 2 servings

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 cups unsweetened milk of choice
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup 
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • A pinch of salt
  • A tablespoon of mini marshmallows

How To Make:

  1. In a saucepan, whisk together the unsweetened cocoa powder, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt.
  2. Gradually add the milk while whisking to combine. Continue whisking until the mixture is well blended.
  3. Heat the mixture over low-medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it’s hot but not boiling. This should take about 5-7 minutes.
  4. Taste the hot cocoa and adjust the sweetness as needed by adding more maple syrup.
  5. Once the hot cocoa is hot and well mixed, remove it from the heat.
  6. After pouring into mugs, top with mini marshmallows and a sprinkle of cocoa powder.

Holiday Light Peppermint Latte

A light peppermint latte is a jolly twist on a java favorite without the excess sugar and calories often found with some of our favorite coffee makers. 

Healthy Holiday Drinks peppermint latte

Makes: 1 serving

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup unsweetened milk of choice
  • 1 shot of espresso or 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure peppermint extract 
  • 1 tablespoons honey
  • Crushed sugar-free peppermint candies or a sprinkle of cocoa powder (for garnish, optional)

How To Make:

  • Brew a shot of espresso or make a cup of coffee.
  • In a small saucepan, heat the milk over low-medium heat until it’s hot but not boiling. Stir occasionally.
  • In your coffee mug, mix the hot espresso or coffee with honey and pure peppermint extract. Feel free to adjust the sweetness and peppermint flavor to your liking.
  • Pour the hot milk into the mug with the coffee mixture and stir to combine or use a frother.
  • Optionally, garnish with crushed sugar-free peppermint candies or a sprinkle of cocoa powder.

HOliday Peppermint Green Tea

Peppermint green tea is not only a soothing and refreshing drink but also provides the potential health benefits of green tea, such as antioxidants, and the calming effect of peppermint.

Makes: 1 serving

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 green tea bag or 1 teaspoon of loose green tea leaves
  • 1 peppermint tea bag or 1 teaspoon of loose dried peppermint leaves
  • Hot water
  • Honey or sweetener (optional)

How To Make:

  1. Boil water and allow it to cool for a minute or two. The ideal temperature for brewing green tea is around 175°F.
  2. Place the green tea bag or loose green tea leaves in a teacup.
  3. Add the peppermint tea bag or loose peppermint leaves to the same cup.
  4. Pour the hot water over the tea bags or leaves.
  5. Cover the cup with a saucer or a small plate and let the tea steep for 2-3 minutes. 
  6. Remove the tea bags or strain out the tea leaves.
  7. If desired, add some sweetness with honey or your preferred tea sweetener to taste.
  8. Stir and enjoy your peppermint green tea.

Maple Pecan Macchiato

A Maple Syrup Macchiato is a tasty way to start your morning. It’s a morning holiday drink we can’t get enough of. Here’s a simple recipe that you can try:

Servings: 1 serving

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 shot of espresso 
  • 1 tablespoons pure maple syrup 
  • 1/4 cup steamed milk of choice
  • A drizzle of pure maple syrup for garnish (optional)

How To Make:

  1. Brew a shot of espresso using your espresso machine or make a cup of coffee as a substitute.
  2. In your coffee mug, add 1 tablespoon of pure maple syrup. Adjust the amount to your desired level of sweetness.
  3. Pour the hot shot of espresso over the maple syrup. Stir well to combine, ensuring the maple syrup dissolves into the espresso.
  4. Steam or heat your choice of milk until it’s hot but not boiling.
  5. Slowly pour the steamed milk into the coffee mug. Make sure to hold back the foam with a spoon to create a layered effect. The maple syrup and espresso should remain at the bottom, with the steamed milk on top.
  6. Optionally, you can drizzle a little extra pure maple syrup on top of the milk for added sweetness and a garnish.
  7. Give it a gentle stir to combine all the layers.

Winter HOliday Healthy Sangria

Sangria is a holiday party favorite. Try this healthy, fruit-packed twist at your festive celebrations. 

Makes: 6 to 8 servings

Healthy Holiday Drinks Sangria

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 bottle of red wine (choose a dry red wine, like a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Merlot)
  • 1 cup unsweetened cranberry juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup honey 
  • 1 cup sparkling water 
  • 1 apple, sliced
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • A few sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • Ice 

How To Make:

  1. In a large pitcher, combine the wine, cranberry juice, orange juice, lemon juice, and honey. Stir well to mix the liquids and sweeten the sangria.
  2. Add the apple and orange slices, fresh cranberries, and the cinnamon stick to the pitcher. Gently stir to combine.
  3. Refrigerate the sangria for at least 2-3 hours to let the flavors meld. You can also prepare it the night before for even more flavor.
  4. Just before serving, add the sparkling water or club soda to the pitcher to give the sangria a light fizz. Stir gently.
  5. Serve the holiday sangria in glasses filled with ice cubes. Garnish each glass with a sprig of fresh rosemary for a festive touch.

Apple Cranberry Spritzer Mocktail

A Cranberry Apple Spritzer is a refreshing festive holiday drink mocktail that’s perfect for f any time you want a non-alcoholic drink at the company party. 

Servings: 1 serving

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup unsweetened cranberry juice
  • 1 cup unsweetened apple juice
  • 1/2 cup sparkling water or club soda
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Slices of fresh apple and cranberries for garnish
  • Ice cubes
  • Fresh mint leaves (optional, for garnish)

How To Make:

  1. In a pitcher, combine the unsweetened cranberry juice, unsweetened apple juice, fresh lemon juice, and honey. Stir well to blend the flavors and sweetness. 
  2. Fill glasses with ice cubes.
  3. Pour the cranberry and apple juice mixture evenly into the glasses.
  4. Top off each glass with sparkling water or club soda to add a refreshing fizz.
  5. Garnish each glass with slices of fresh apple, a few cranberries, and a sprig of fresh mint if desired.
  6. Give it a gentle stir to combine the flavors, and serve your Cranberry Apple Spritzer mocktail immediately.

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