‘Tis the season to be jolly! So, don’t let endless cocktail options at festive parties put a crimp in your stocking — and waistband.
If your top priority is to maintain weight, then wish no more. We’re here to help you navigate your favorite holiday drinks while you celebrate. The focus is on bringing out seasonal flavors and aromas while minimizing the fat and sugar of these boozy beverages.
Perhaps you think the healthy answer is to use a diet mixer. Seattle-based dietitian Ginger Hultin, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, explains that skinny cocktail mixes have the same additives and coloring than the original versions but contain less calories because of sugar substitutes. She advises in her blog ChampagneNutrition that “The key to having a healthy and happy holiday season can lie in making your own healthier cocktails!”
Whether you’re enjoying the festivities as a party guest or a host, well-crafted beverages can satisfy the palate with fewer calories. Here are six holiday drink classics to slim down this season:
Spiked Eggnog – Egg yolks, sugar, cream
White Russian – The cream is the calorie killer in this simple 3-ingredient cocktail. Use an ounce of half and half instead of heavy cream to save 60 calories and 7 grams of fat. Additional options are to use almond or coconut milk or blend frozen with coffee ice cubes for even lighter versions.
Hot Buttered Rum – This one is truly a gift that keeps on giving, and not in a good way. Reduce butter to a single tablespoon per cup of rum used. The flavor will still be there! Cut sugar by substituting apple cider for brown sugar and water, then use spiced rum to kick up the zest.
Irish Coffee – The Irish cream liqueur is already sweetened, so you can omit the extra sugar that you would normally add to your coffee. Frothed milk makes an elegant topper and saves a bunch of calories over whipped cream. Grind a teaspoon of instant coffee and mix with a teaspoon of powdered sugar to sprinkle on top for barely-there sweetness.
Mulled Wine – Slow simmering wine with citrus peels, sugar and spices over low heat makes for an intense flavor without burning off the alcohol. Alternatively, some folks just muddle fruit slices into the wine, add syrups and heat up. Knock out the sugar and syrups to keep calories down but stick to off-dry wines for a richer flavor.
Peppermint Schnapps Hot Cocoa – This creamy sweet drink should really be treated as dessert. Keep it adult (and lower sugar) by skipping the marshmallows and peppermint stick. Keep it smooth by using low or non-fat milk and cocoa instead of water and a sugary mix. Real milk also provides a few grams of protein.
Additionally, you can look for lighter alternatives this season, such as the two below — and both can be diluted with seltzer water for a little sparkle.
Spiked Apple Cider – A cinnamon stick garnish adds a touch of spice to complement the zesty flavors already present.
Pomegranate Mojito – Shake with ice, then dress with a lime slice or fresh mint.