Precision Nutrition

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Healthy Holiday Drinks

The holidays tend to be a season of excess in many ways.…eating, drinking, spending. All of it can lead to one bad full-body hangover come the beginning of January. Since we’ve already taken a look at healthy eating for holiday meals (see the October post, “Healthy Eating Tips for Thanksgiving”), it’s only appropriate that we look at healthy drinking. Holiday beverages – both alcoholic and non-alcoholic – are in abundance this time of year. Coffee shops, restaurants, bars, open houses and family gatherings all seem to offer special holiday drinks. Most of them are loaded with fat, sugar and/or booze. Here are a few ideas to help you cut the calories and stick with healthier choices.

Non-Alcoholic Holiday Drinks

Hot chocolate, hot mulled cider, eggnog – most of these holiday favourites are bad news, full of sugar and fat. Did you know that a Starbucks venti eggnog latte has 620 calories and 29g of fat and a grande white hot chocolate has 420 calories and Starbucks holiday drink12g of fat? No wonder Santa can’t fit down the chimney. Try a Christmas Chai loose leaf tea instead – great tasting, minimal calories and still gets you into that Christmas spirit. Adding soda water to festive-looking unsweetened juices such as cranberry, pomegranate, raspberry makes a really easy ‘mocktail’. Experiment with adding other juices (lemon, lime, apple, etc.) to come up with your signature concoction. Then add a garnish (mint, cranberries, pomegranate seeds, lemon zest) and you’ll have everyone fooled, including yourself. If you are hosting an event, here are two easy and healthy festive alcohol-free cocktails to offer. If you have other favourites, let us know!

  1. Cranberry Sparkler
  2. Hot Mulled Cider (no sugar)

Alcoholic Holiday Drinks

Obviously, as health and nutrition coaches we don’t want to encourage alcohol consumption but we realize it’s inevitable. But before you head off to your next Christmas function, take a look on this article about “How Much Should You holiday drink1Drink?” – Canada’s National Alcoholic Strategy Advisory Committee has released new guidelines. Again, the drinks you should avoid are the ones laden with fat, sugar and/or several  types of alcohol, such as a peppermint chocolate martini or Glogg mulled wine. That being said, the problem with many drinks is that you just don’t know what’s in them. In that case your best bet is to keep it keep it simple with a glass of wine or spirits with soda. If you are focussed on cutting calories, know that the higher the alcohol content, the higher the calories. Also, mixers can add a lot of calories. If you start with a 1.5oz serving of distilled spirits at 96 calories, adding a glass of cola or juice can bring it to over 200 calories. For one little drink. For the fewest calories your best bet is a white wine spritzer. Cheers!

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