Holiday beverages bring us cheer and help us create fond memories. Such as sharing hot chocolate by the fire and sharing stories with loved ones. The challenge is they often include extra/empty sugar, fat and calories we normally wouldn’t consume. Over indulge and these delicious drinks can contribute to the dreaded extra few pounds that studies show most people gain around the holidays. The average holiday beverage contains 350 calories and most are created using milk, sugar, alcohol and all sort of chemicals for flavor. You may be asking yourself, how can I enjoy the holiday season, stay healthy and not feel deprived? I am going to address five common holiday drinks that you’re likely to come across, and ways to substitute them!
1. Vanilla Latte
The average latte from a coffeehouse, is made with vanilla flavors, milk, coffee, tons of sugar and whipped cream. There a more then a few Beauty Detox no-no’s involved here! You may be surprised by how easy it is to substitute this beverage for a healthy, tasty treat! My Vegan Vanilla Latte Recipe only uses 3 ingredients!
2. Egg Nog
Egg Nog is traditionally served around the holidays and is a heavy, sweetened dairy-based beverage, where you um, drink eggs. It may sound odd to the non-egg nog drinker, such as yours truly, as it was never part of my holiday traditions growing up. But I know that some of you grew up with it and love it. To create this drink you traditionally use milk, cane sugar, and whipped eggs and garnish with a cinnamon or nutmeg.
Creamy Vegan Eggnog Recipe
¾ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
¼ cup unsweetened coconut milk
3 tablespoons cashews (preferably soaked overnight)
2 tablespoons maple syrup
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
3. Hot Chocolate
A staple for many people over the holidays, but be careful with this treat! Although it seems like simple ingredients, many pre-made mixes with pretty packages actually have several ingredients in them we don’t want to consume. Indeed, most hot chocolate mixes include a high sugar content and most brands of hot cocoa mix have partially hydrogenated oils – something that should definitely be avoided. No need to worry, because it is beyond easy to make a healthier hot chocolate, that is delicious and satisfying.
Happy Cow Hot Chocolate Recipe
12 oz unsweetened almond milk
2 tsp. raw, organic cacao powder
(If you can only find nibs, make sure to grind them first in a coffee or spice grinder)
Stevia or coconut nectar to sweeten (optional)
4. Apple Cider
Apple Cider is an amazing way to warm up during the cold winter months. Many times there are large amounts of added sugars in apple cider though. It’s already sweet enough on it’s own, as it’s essentially apple juice! When making yourself, it’s very important to source an organic apple juice base, as apples are one of the Dirty Dozen produce items, meaning they are one of the most highly pesticide-sprayed crops. When enjoying apple cider make sure to not overdo it as these holiday beverages are meant to be a treat, not a staple beverage.
Organic Renewal Cider Recipe
4 cups organic apple juice or cider
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
Fresh apple slices (soaked in lemon juice) to garnish
5. Alcoholic Holiday Beverages
During the holidays, we all may feel the urge to indulge ourselves a little more then usual and this can apply to alcoholic beverages as well. Many of our favorite beverages this time of year may have alcohol added to them for an extra kick and 3+ glasses later, we realize we may have had one too many.
How do you avoid this happening to you? Go to your events and parties being mindful. Make sure you have eaten properly throughout the day, and if you are going to have an alcoholic beverage, choose one that is not laced with sugar and dairy. Sip your drink slowly and try to not have more then one or two glasses at most. Red wine and simple cocktails like vodka, soda water and lime are a good choice year round. Organic red and white wine can be a good choice when at a party, you can always bring a bottle for your host.
I hope these quick and simple recipes help you to create the healthiest holiday drinks possible, while still allowing yourself to enjoy every moment of the season. Here is a short cheat sheet you can apply with any holiday drink.
– Substitute milk or cream with almond milk or coconut milk.
– Substitute sugar with stevia.
– Substitute cocoa with cacao.
I wish you well in your food and gift preparations, but most importantly, I hope you enjoy this magical time for yourself, and with your family and loved ones.