Mulled wine is still on the menu!
With the holiday season around the corner, enjoying a seasonal drink is inevitable. A hot bev on a cold day gives us warmth, comfort and a much needed sweet treat. If you’re keen to feel festive during the holidays, but not make “kick caffeine craving and sugar addiction” your new year’s resolution, we’ve got the solution for you. It’s time to take a proactive step by choosing your drink wisely to prevent ingesting excessive calories, added sugars and saturated fat. Below are some popular winter and seasonal beverages, along with their healthier alternatives. Drink up!
A traditional celebratory drink, mulled wine is perfect on cold winter days and to celebrate the holiday season. For health fanatics who would like to drink more than one cup, while keeping the alcohol and sugar content minimal, here are a couple of non-alcoholic and low-sugar suggestions:
- Low sugar: Using half the amount of sugar in your favourite mulled wine recipe will keep your added sugar intake low.
- Sugar-free: Replace the added sugar that the recipe asks for with more berries to bring out the natural sweetness and aroma.
Hot chocolate is the perfect winter warmer. However, many commercial hot chocolate mixes are made with added sugars and artificial flavours and colours. Instead of buying instant mixes, you can easily make your own cup of healthy hot chocolate at work or at home. Simply use cacao and mix it with milk or your favourite fortified, non-dairy beverage such as fortified soy, almond, cashew, or coconut. Choose an unsweetened, fortified non-dairy beverage if you would like to keep your added sugar intake minimal. You can also add a hint of vanilla for extra aroma.
If you are not in the mood for a cup of hot chocolate or a glass of mulled wine, you can try a healthier alternative: mulled tea. Steep your favourite black tea, green tea or a decaffeinated berry tea with cinnamon, cloves and star anise. For an extra aromatic beverage, add a hint of vanilla with a cinnamon stick to your steeped tea.
Coffee may be a regular part of your day, and having a cup (or two) of festive coffee during the holiday season for a change is expected. Coffee outlets such as Starbucks offers a wide variety of holiday beverages. Before you place an order of your seasonal coffee beverage at Starbucks, let’s take a closer look at the nutritional information:
Amongst the holiday coffee beverages, the best choice would be the Holiday Spice Flat White (or your city’s equivalent) because it has the lowest calories, sugar and fat. If you would like to indulge in the other choices listed, you can consider skipping the whipped cream, switching to non-fat milk and opting for less syrup, mocha sauce and candied toppings to reduce the calories, fat and added sugars, respectively. Keep in mind that the above only suggests the nutritional information for a tall, 12-fluid ounce beverage. If you decide to order a grande (16 fluid ounce) or a venti (20 fluid ounce), you will be taking in even more. Whilst caffeine is often a quick fix, it doesn’t add much value to your overall health, and your body can quickly become dependent on it!
All holiday drinks mentioned can be a part of your healthy lifestyle. Knowing what’s in your drink, and what the healthier alternatives are, will allow you to make the choice that is best for you. Practicing mindful eating and keeping moderation in mind will make your holiday season that little bit healthier!
Editors Note: This post was originally published in December 2017 by Novella Lui and updated in December 2019.