The season of holiday festivities is officially upon us. And for lots of us, that means spending many days and evenings with a favorite seasonal drink in hand. But similar to the endless supplies of gingerbread cookies and fruitcake, what’s in your cup can also undermine your otherwise healthy routine. Let’s toast to a healthy holiday season with these simple drinking tips:
The rule of one
When it comes to alcoholic beverages, one isn’t the loneliest number – it’s the recommended number. The USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans says that if alcohol is consumed, it should be in moderation. That is, no more than one drink per day for women or two for men. Curb your intake (and avoid a headache in the morning!) by alternating with water.
Easy on the ‘nog
If you’re counting calories, holiday drinking can be a minefield. Per cup, eggnog can contain an eye-popping 20 grams of fat and 400 calories, which is almost as much as a cheeseburger (and you haven’t even eaten yet!). Hot buttered rum, white Russians, and other favorite holiday potables also crack the top ten for calorie count. Instead, try a hot toddy, which provides the same warm, comforting feeling for just over 160 calories.
Go with the basics
Spiced cider is delightfully festive and, at about 100 calories per cup, it’s one of your best bets for light holiday drinking. Are added health benefits what you’re after? Cider offers an impressive antioxidant boost, but you’ll also do well with a glass of red wine; the polyphenols and resveratrol are two known age-fighters (and isn’t that the ultimate gift?)
Tweak your cocoa
Chocolate and cocoa are naturally rich in heart-healthy benefits, but not all cups of hot cocoa offer maximal rewards. When buying store-bought, look for “Dutch” processed cocoa, and if you’re making it yourself, opt for darker chocolate varieties. This helps your hot cocoa retain its antioxidants and blood-pressure-reducing properties (which we can all appreciate this time of year). Stir in coconut or almond milk instead of whole milk to cut fat content, and keep drinks to eight ounces or less.
Tell us: what are your go-to holiday drinks?