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Have a Cup of Cheer!

posted Dec 18, 2015, 8:01 AM by Rachel Griffin
However you define it—sweet, bubbly, hot or frozen, our cups are normally full from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. Most are probably aware that many of our favorite holiday beverages are mostly filled with empty calories (e.g. sugar), but did you know that you can have your cheer and drink it too? Even choosing one of the tips below could save oodles of calories while keeping you more hydrated and in control.
  • Always have water before, between, and after other beverages.  This is important all year long, but especially throughout the holidays.  Even if you aren’t drinking alcohol, it is important to make drinking water your first priority and enjoying a flavored beverage as a treat.
  • Add a little sparkle with seltzer! Add seltzer to white wine or in place of a sugar-sweetened soda in your favorite cocktail. 
  • Winterize infused water with whole fresh cranberries + sage or fresh rosemary, orange twists + whole cloves. Display in a clear decorative pitcher to attract your guests (and you yourself) to the calorie free, naturally flavored beverage option.
  • Make it yourself so that you can control the ingredients.  By using spices and extracts and adding just a touch of sugar, the true flavors of season are detectable, rather than just overpowering sweetness that tends to occur in commercial beverages.

o   Easy hot chocolate: In your favorite mug, combine:  ¾ cup hot milk + 1 teaspoon sugar, honey, or pure maple syrup + 1 tablespoon cocoa powder.  Stir until smooth.  Add 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract, cinnamon, or even cayenne pepper for an extra kick.

o   Spiced latte: In your favorite mug, combine:  ½ cup hot strong brewed coffee + ½ cup hot milk + 1/8 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice + 1 teaspoon sugar, honey, or pure maple syrup + 1/8  teaspoon vanilla or almond extract.  Garnish with additional pumpkin pie spice, if desired

o   Chai tea latte:  Add 1 bag of Chai tea to ½ cup hot water and let steep for 2-5 minutes.  Remove tea bag and add ½ cup hot milk.  Top with a dash of cinnamon or allspice and 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract.

o   Peppermint shake: In a blender, combine ½ cup vanilla or chocolate Greek yogurt + ½ cup milk + 1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract + 1 teaspoon cocoa powder + ½ - 1 cup of ice.  Blend until smooth/desired consistency and  garnish with mini dark chocolate chips or shaved baker’s chocolate

  • Have a plan.  Look at your calendar to see your complete holiday schedule.  If you know that you are going to a coffee shop to catch up with a friend or a holiday party and really want to enjoy a sweet latte or glass of champagne, then do it!  Treat yourself to that beverage (and enjoy it!), but adjust your consumption of other sugar-sweetened and /or alcoholic beverages before and after.
  • If you don’t love something, pass it up.  This can be a hard one, as consuming a favorite family beverage (or food) is sometimes a matter of being polite.  If you can, when you are faced with a treat that you don’t absolutely love (or maybe a treat that you can get any other time of year), just pass it up knowing that a true holiday favorite is probably right around the corner. 




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