Holiday Drinks Made Healthier | HUM Nutrition Blog

One of the best parts of the holiday season is seasonal drinks, also known as holiday drinks. While it’s okay to enjoy your favorite holiday drinks, overdoing it can tip the scales against your health and fitness goals. The good news? Simple modifications can turn a holiday drink into a healthier treat.

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

How to make Christmas drinks healthier

The key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle during the holidays is to strike a balance between enjoying your favorite beverages and making conscious decisions to keep your health on track.

Balance means there’s room to enjoy holiday drinks in their classic form (in moderation, of course) without having to feel guilty. But for those of you looking for a healthy twist on holiday snacks, check out these three dietician-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 blood sugar levels.
  2. Use sparkling water as a base for holiday cocktails and mocktails. These bubbly drinks can save you a ton of added sugar that most fruit juices and sodas provide.
  3. Wait or ask for light whipped cream if you’re in the mood for a hot chocolate or festive coffee drink. You’ll be surprised how many calories you can save by skipping the whipped cream.

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

7 healthy drinks for the holidays

Easy Christmas Eggnog

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

Yield: 4 servings

What you will need:

  • 2 cups unsweetened milk of your 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 creaminess)
Healthy Holiday Drink: Eggnog

How to do:

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

Healthy Hot Cocoa for the Holidays

Hot chocolate It’s the perfect way to stay warm during winter activities. It’s one of our favorite Christmas drinks! Here’s a simple and healthy version of a classic hot chocolate recipe.

healthy christmas drinks

Yield: 2 servings

What you will need:

  • 2 cups unsweetened milk of your 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 do:

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

Light Christmas Mint Latte

A light mint latte is a cheerful take on a Javanese favorite without the excess sugar and calories often found in some of our favorite coffee makers.

Healthy Christmas drinks with milk and mint

Yield: 1 serving

What you will need:

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

How to do:

  • Prepare a shot of espresso or a cup of coffee.
  • In a small saucepan, heat the milk over medium-low heat until hot but not boiling. Stir occasionally.
  • In your coffee cup, mix hot espresso or coffee with honey and pure peppermint extract. Feel free to adjust the sweetness and mint flavor to your liking.
  • Pour the hot milk into the cup 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 Mint Green Tea

Mint Green tea is not only a calming and refreshing drink, but it also provides the potential health benefits of green tea, such as antioxidants and the calming effect of mint.

Yield: 1 serving

What you will need:

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

How to do:

  1. Boil water and let it 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 tea cup.
  3. Add the mint tea bag or loose mint leaves to the same cup.
  4. Pour the hot water over the tea bags or leaves.
  5. Cover the cup with a saucer or small plate and let the tea steep for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Remove the tea bags or strain the tea leaves.
  7. If desired, add a little sweetness with honey or your favorite tea sweetener to taste.
  8. Stir and enjoy your mint green tea.

Walnut and maple macchiato

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

Servings: 1 serving

What you will need:

  • 1 drink of Espresso
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup steamed milk of your choice
  • A splash of pure maple syrup to decorate (optional)

How to do:

  1. Make a shot of espresso with your espresso machine, or make a cup of coffee instead.
  2. In your cup of coffee, add 1 tablespoon of pure maple syrup. Adjust the amount to the desired level of sweetness.
  3. Pour the hot shot of espresso over the maple syrup. Stir well to combine, making sure the maple syrup dissolves into the espresso.
  4. Steam or heat milk of your choice until hot but not boiling.
  5. Slowly pour the steamed milk into the coffee cup. Make sure to retain the foam with a spoon to create a layered effect. The maple syrup and espresso should be on the bottom and the steamed milk on top.
  6. Optionally, you can drizzle some extra pure maple syrup on top of the milk for added sweetness and garnish.
  7. Stir gently to combine all the layers.

Healthy sangria for winter holidays

Sangria is a Christmas party favorite. Try this healthy, fruit-filled twist on your holiday celebrations.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Healthy Holiday Drinks Sangria

What you will need:

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

How to do:

  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 cinnamon stick to the pitcher. Stir gently to combine.
  3. Refrigerate the sangria for at least 2-3 hours to allow the flavors to blend. You can also prepare it the night before for even more flavor.
  4. Just before serving, add sparkling water or club soda to the pitcher to give the sangria a slight fizz. Stir gently.
  5. Serve Christmas sangria in glasses filled with ice cubes. Garnish each glass with a sprig of fresh rosemary for a festive touch.

Mocktail with apple and blueberry spritzer

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

Servings: 1 serving

What you will need:

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

How to do:

  1. In a pitcher, combine unsweetened cranberry juice, unsweetened apple juice, fresh lemon juice, and honey. Stir well to blend the flavors and sweetness.
  2. Fill the glasses with ice cubes.
  3. Pour the apple-cranberry 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 fresh apple slices, a few cranberries, and a sprig of fresh mint if desired.
  6. Stir gently to combine the flavors and serve your Cranberry Apple Spritzer mocktail immediately.
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