During the holidays, we all know to keep an eye out for the extra fat and calories in the holiday treats and goodies that we eat. But what about all those tasty treats that we drink? Loaded with fat, calories, and sugar, holiday drinks can really add up – and do a number on your waistline. It can be next to impossible to avoid holiday drinks altogether (and you probably don’t want to, anyway!) but there are ways to minimize their impact.
5 High-Calorie Holiday Drinks and How to Make Them Healthier
1. Eggnog Latte
With 370 calories and 17 grams of fat in a tall Starbucks eggnog latte, and up to 530 calories and 26 grams of fat in a venti, an eggnog latte is more like a dessert than a coffee. This is definitely not an everyday drink! If you do want to indulge, stick to a tall, and ask for a “reduced-fat” version, which uses nonfat milk instead (it’s not a nonfat drink because there’s still fat in the eggnog). This small change brings the tall serving down to 240 calories and 5 grams of fat. Alternately, try their gingerbread latte. The regular version is 100 calories fewer than the eggnog latte!
2. Peppermint Mocha
A tall Starbucks peppermint mocha has 320 calories and 13 grams of fat, and a venti has 50% more. White chocolate versions add even more fat and calories! The easiest way to reduce the impact of these drinks is to skip the whipped cream, which cuts 60-70 calories and 6-7 grams of fat, and stick to a small serving size. Alternately, you may their Peppermint Mocha Light Frappuccino Blended Coffee; the reduced-fat version comes in at only 130 calories.
3. Mulled Wine
Mulled wine is red wine mixed with sugar and spices like cinnamon and cloves, served warm. But the added sugar means added calories. A 5-oz glass of mulled wine contains around 174 calories, while a serving of regular red wine contains about 125. If you love the warmth and flavors of mulled wine, stick to one small serving, then move on to regular wine.
4. Old-fashioned Eggnog
Often served at holiday parties, the old-fashioned stuff bears only a passing resemblance to the cartoned eggnog sold in stores. Made with eggs, sugar, heavy cream – and usually with brandy, whiskey, or rum already mixed in – a glass can pack in up to 335 calories and 20 grams of fat. If you’re making the eggnog, you can lighten things up by using egg substitute instead of eggs and half-and-half instead of heavy cream to save about 125 calories and 14 grams of fat per serving. If you’re drinking eggnog someone else has made, ask if they have some milk you can use to thin it with, or opt for a non-alcoholic version, if one is available.
5. Hot Apple Cider
At about 175 calories and less than 1 gram of fat for a 12-ounce serving, hot apple cider is definitely a healthier holiday drink option to indulge in. If you’re buying your cider at a coffee shop, think twice about the “caramel” versions. They usually add about 25 calories per cup.
The Bottom Line
Whether you’re heading to the coffee shop or a holiday party, or just sipping a nice holiday drink at home, keep these tips in mind to minimize the damage of your holiday drinks while still enjoying the festive tastes of the season.
Christina Newberry is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in national and local magazines and newspapers. With a Bachelor’s degree in English and Anthropology from the University of Victoria and a Journalism Certificate from Langara College, Christina brings keen curiosity and the love of a good story to her work with HealthCastle.com.
Christina is a passionate traveler and urban gardener with an interest in vegetarian eating and making good, tasty food from scratch. Sharing lessons learned from her own experiences, Christina writes about lifestyle topics for HealthCastle, with a focus on eating well at home and on the road.