What are some healthy holiday drinks?

Chad Kramer
Chad Kramer on behalf of dotFIT
Here are a few healthier, low-calorie alternatives that will help you make it through the temptations until your New Year’s resolution takes effect.

“Cranberry-Apple Cider (diabetic friendly)”
  • 4 cups cranberry apple drink
  • 1 to 2 packets of sugar substitute
  • ¼ cup frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed, undiluted
  • 8 sticks of cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. cloves
  • ¼ tsp. allspice
  • 6 lemon wedges, (about 2 large lemons cut in thirds)
Combine, cranberry-apple drink, sugar substitute, and lemonade in a large saucepan. Tie 2 cinnamon sticks, cloves, and allspice in cheesecloth and add to cranberry-apple mixture. Bring mixture to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove mixture from heat and discard spice bag. Garnish with lemon wedges and remaining cinnamon sticks, or add some fresh berries.

48 calories per serving. Makes 6 servings.

“Light Eggnog”
  • eggs (4 egg whites and 2 egg yolks)
  • sugar
  • 2 cups 1% low-fat milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • cinnamon
  • nutmeg
  • ¼ cup white rum
Beat the egg yolks until lightened in color. Add 1/3 cup sugar, beating until dissolved; set aside. Combine milk, vanilla, 1 dash of cinnamon and 1 dash of nutmeg in a saucepan over high heat; bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and gradually whisk into egg mixture. Return to pot, and cook to 160 degrees F. Remove from heat, stir in white rum, and pour into a bowl; set in the refrigerator. Beat 4 egg whites in a separate bowl until soft peaks form; with mixer running, gradually add 1 tbsp. of sugar, and beat until stiff peaks form. Whisk egg whites into chilled mixture; sprinkle with cinnamon.

148 calories per serving. Makes 6 servings.

“Hot Apple Pie”
  • 1 oz. apple cider
  • 1/8 oz. lemon juice
  • ½ oz. agave nectar
  • 1½ oz. Spiced Rum (vanilla)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
Stove-top directions: Heat lemon, agave and cider together on the stove. Pour in rum and grate cinnamon on top.

181 calories

“Christmas Cooler”
  • 1 oz. pomegranate grenadine*
  • 4 blackberries
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • ½ oz. lemon juice
  • 1 oz. Tanqueray No. 10 gin
  • club soda
  • ice
Stir blackberries, cinnamon stick and grenadine together. Add lemon juice and gin. Shake with 2 ice cubes and strain into a glass filled with ice. Top with club soda and enjoy.

*To make the pomegranate grenadine, combine equal parts pomegranate juice and sugar. Cook on the stovetop until reduced by one third.

174 calories

Holiday gatherings can make it tough to stick to a heart-healthy diet. When at holiday parties, one “hidden” source of sugar and calories that you may not consider is drinks. The tips below can help you make better holiday drink choices and maintain a diet that benefits your heart health.

  • Drink low-fat eggnog to cut down on calories and fat. Or instead of milk in your coffee or black tea, try adding a little low-fat eggnog for an "eggnog latte." Or better yet, try mulled apple cider or ginger tea.
  • Limit alcohol. Moderation (one drink per day for women, two drinks for men) is important for overall health. But alcohol also provides extra calories and interferes with your ability to keep tabs on your food intake. You will drink and eat more calories than you mean to eat. If you do choose to drink alcohol, beer and wine generally are lower in calories than spirits mixed with soda or fruit juices.
  • Limit the amount of regular soda that you drink. One 12-ounce can of regular soda contains 150 calories (about 9 teaspoons) from sugar.
  • Limit drinks with added sugar or switch to non-nutritive sweeteners (Nutrasweet, Splenda, Truvia, etc.).
  • Drink water, unsweetened tea or coffee with meals instead of high-calorie beverages such as soda, juices or sweet tea.
Karyn A. Springer, MD
Family Medicine

For a fun "cream" soda, place crushed or "snowed" ice in a glass, add some fat-free half and half, 100% juice and club soda. You can also add a little flavored drink syrup in place of the juice but this adds more refined sugar.

You can also use fat-free half and half to make homemade egg nog. Search the web for some fun recipes. Add some Sprite or club soda for a "sparkling" non-alcoholic version.

Lisa Lillien
Nutrition & Dietetics

It's easy to lighten up your favorite holiday drinks. In this video, "Hungry Girl" author Lisa Lillien gives recipes for classic beverages with a fraction of their usual calories.

Rachel Beller
Nutrition & Dietetics

Enjoying eggnog at holiday time is a delicious treat, but it's very high in fat, sugar and calories. In this video, nutritionist Rachel Beller shares her recipe for a vegan-fit eggnog that is also tasty, but much healthier for you and your waistline!

Continue Learning about Healthy Holidays

A Holiday Recipe for Less Family Drama
A Holiday Recipe for Less Family Drama
What comes to mind when you think of family holiday gatherings? I think of festive décor , gathering around the dinner table for fun conversation and ...
Read More
How can I reduce holiday stress to control my blood sugar level?
American Diabetes AssociationAmerican Diabetes Association
The holidays can be a very busy and stressful time of year. When stress builds up, it causes the...
More Answers
7 Ways to Stop Holiday Weight Gain
7 Ways to Stop Holiday Weight Gain7 Ways to Stop Holiday Weight Gain7 Ways to Stop Holiday Weight Gain7 Ways to Stop Holiday Weight Gain
Here’s how to ring in the new year without putting on pounds.
Start Slideshow
What Can I Eat Before a Holiday Party So I Don't Overdo It?
What Can I Eat Before a Holiday Party So I Don't Overdo It?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.