It can be challenging maintain a healthy diet between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. Packing on a few extra pounds over the holidays is common, but is food always to blame?
Holiday drinks are a sneaky source of calories that can sabotage the best-intentioned meal. Just think, every time you have a 5-ounces glass of wine, you add around 120 calories to your meal. If you are sipping a 12- ounce beer while the game is on, it’s another 150 calories. Those beloved and festive mixed drinks and cocktails? They add around 100 calories for every 1.5 ounce pour.
This does not include the simple syrups and soda added to classic holiday drinks. So, before you deck the halls or sing Auld Lang Syne, you may want to rethink your drink drinking and try some of the lower-calorie, virgin drink varieties below.
Health(ier) Egg Nog
Makes: 8- 1/2 cup servings
- 2 cups Skim Plus milk
- 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, plus more for garnish
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5 egg yolks
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup vanilla yogurt
- Combine milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla in a small saucepan over low heat. Slowly bring mixture to a low boil.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk egg yolks with sugar until yolks are pale in color. Slowly add hot milk mixture to egg yolks in batches to temper (a cooking technique in which the temperature of a cold/room-temperature ingredient is slowly raised by adding small amounts of hot/boiling liquid) the eggs and whisk until combined.
- Return mixture to saucepan and cook over medium heat until slightly thick (and coats the back of a spoon) but does not boil. Using a candy thermometer, mixture should reach 160 degrees.
- Remove from heat and whisk in yogurt.
- Refrigerate until chilled. Serve with a dash of nutmeg
It’s important to use a thermometer to “cook” the raw eggs. This classic recipe can cut down the saturated fat by using skim milk and yogurt.
Spiced Apple Cider
Makes: 4 Servings
- 8 cups apple cider
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon cloves
- 2 pieces star anise
- light whipped cream topping (optional)
- In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, steep (to allow dry ingredients to soak in a liquid until the liquid takes on the flavor of the dry ingredient) cider, lemon, and spices until reduce by half to make 4 cups
- Serve hot or cold, with a dollop of whipped cream topping
Important Note: Reducing the cider creates a more concentrated sweetness, eliminating the need for additional simple syrups or sugars.
Hot Peppermint Chocolate
Makes: 4 servings
- 1 candy cane, crushed
- 4 cups fairlife 2% chocolate milk
- dark chocolate bar, grated
- candy canes
- In a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat, cook candy cane and chocolate milk, until candy cane has dissolved.
- To serve, pour into mug and top with marshmallows, dark chocolate shavings, and candy cane
Important Note: fairlife chocolate milk has less sugar than traditional chocolate milk hot chocolates, along with more protein. It has also a creamy texture, a perfect addition by the fire.
Cranberry Moscow Mule
Makes: 4 servings
- 1 Anjou pear (a variety of green pears), sliced
- 1 cup whole fresh cranberries, halved
- 1 cup pomegranate seeds
- 1 cup pomegranate juice
- 2 cups cranberry seltzer water
- 1 (8-ounce) can ginger beer
- lime wedges, rosemary springs for garnish
- In a pitcher, combine pear, cranberries, seeds, pomegranate juice, seltzer, and ginger beer.
- To serve: place in Mule mugs and garnish with lime wedges and rosemary springs.
Important Note: Use a flavored seltzer water to drastically reduce the calorie content versus using soda as a drink’s base.
Orange Creamsicle Mimosa
Makes: 4 servings
- 1 cup Trop 50 orange Juice
- 1/4 cup reduced-fat half and half
- 1 cup orange seltzer
- 1 orange, sliced
- In a pitcher combine orange juice and half and half.
- To serve: Pour into Champaign flutes and top with seltzer water. Garnish with Orange slice
Important Note: Instead of using heavy cream, opt for using a reduced fat half and half to bring creaminess to your drink. Also look to use a 50% less sugar orange juice, like Trop 50.
American Dairy Association North East is one of 16 state and regional promotion organizations working under the umbrella of the United Dairy Industry Association. It is the local affiliate of the National Dairy Council®, which has been conducting nutrition education and nutrition research programs since 1915. For more information, visit www.americandairy.com.