Healthy Drinks to Sip This Holiday Season (Video)

Holiday drinks to make yourself this season

‘Tis the season for warm and festive holiday drinks! As you plan the finishing touches for your traditional celebrations, UnityPoint Health dietitian, Emma Rueth, invites you to try these four healthy, non-alcoholic cocktails that are sure to be crowd-pleasers. Her recipes intentionally minimize “added sugar,” which the United States Federal Food & Drug Administration (FDA) says should be less than 10 percent of your daily calories. That way, you can toast this holiday season with all the taste but not the guilt. (Spoiler alert: try as we might, we just couldn’t make eggnog healthy. Chalk that one up to enjoying in moderation!)

Homemade Chai-Spiced Cider

Our hot cider is a slightly different take on the classic spiced apple cider. We use chai tea to fantastically pair with the naturally sweet apple cider. Chai tea is simply a mix of spices, like cinnamon, clove, ginger, cardamom and more. Adding hot water also helps cut down the calories of this toasty beverage, while maintaining its flavor. Orange slices provide an extra pop of flavor, as well as vitamin C, which plays a role in immune health, eye health and wound healing. All ingredients of this cozy drink provide antioxidants, which help your cells fight off toxins. If you’re craving a sweet and spicy drink, warm up with this chai-spiced cider.

Preparation

Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2 per batch

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces apple cider
  • 8 ounces hot water
  • 2 chai tea bag, black or decaffeinated
  • 3 orange slices
  • 2 cinnamon sticks

Directions

  1. Bring apple cider and water to a simmer.
  2. Turn off stove, and remove pot from burner.
  3. Add chai tea bags, and let steep for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Remove tea bags carefully, and squeeze one orange slice into mixture.
  5. Pour cider into two mugs, and garnish with remaining orange slices and cinnamon sticks.

Nutrition

Per serving: 125 calories, 0g Protein, 0g Fat, 31g Carbohydrates, 31g Sugar, 0g Added Sugar, 0g Fiber, 60mg Sodium


Healthy Hot Chocolate

There is nothing more satisfying than hot chocolate on a cold day. This healthy hot chocolate recipe uses dark chocolate and cocoa powder to create that rich, creamy flavor. Dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids, which promote healthy blood vessels and play a role in heart health. Choosing to use dairy milk adds a source of protein and calcium. Calcium is important for both muscle function and bone health. A pinch of (optional) salt brings the chocolate flavor out even further, making for a slightly sweet and salty blend. In addition, our sweet treat has less calories and sugar than an 8-ounce hot chocolate from Starbucks with non-fat milk and no whipped cream. Save yourself the cost and the calories by giving this healthy hot chocolate a try.

Preparation

Time: 10 minutes Servings: 2 per batch

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces skim milk
  • 1 tablespoon dark chocolate, chopped (preferably 72 percent cocoa or higher)
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt (optional)

Directions

  1. Add chopped dark chocolate, cocoa powder, sugar and optional salt to 16 ounces of your milk of choice.
  2. Heat the chocolate mixture over the stove, or in the microwave (1-minute increments), until desired temperature.

Nutrition

Per serving: 134 calories, 9g Protein, 3g Fat, 20g Carbohydrates, 17g Sugar, 6g Added Sugar, 2g Fiber, 259mg Sodium


Best Kombucha Holiday Punch

Kombucha (com-boo-chah) is fermented sweet tea that provides good bacteria, also known as probiotics, to help boost digestive health. Because it is fermented, kombucha is naturally low in sugar, making it a healthy addition to holiday punch. In this recipe, we suggest mixing a berry-flavored kombucha with frozen berries and a bit of basil for a delicious, herby twist. Soda water adds to the natural sparkle of kombucha, creating a refreshing, bubbly beverage. Kombucha is available at most grocery stores and should be easy to find. If you’re looking for an interesting holiday punch to wow your friends and family, whip up a batch of this.

Preparation

Time: 5 minutes Servings: 2 per batch

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces berry-flavored kombucha (like Synergy’s Strawberry Serenity)
  • 3 ounces apple juice
  • 8 ounces soda water
  • 2-3 basil leaves, muddled (finely crushed)
  • 2 tablespoon frozen berry blend (or frozen blueberries, blackberries or raspberries)
  • Ice, crushed

Directions

  1. Place muddled basil leaves in the bottom of glass, along with half of the apple juice.
  2. Add desired amount of ice, and top with 6 ounces of kombucha and 4 ounces of soda water (per glass).
  3. Remove basil leaves, if desired. Lastly, add in frozen berries.

Nutrition

Per serving (including berries): 48 calories, 0g Protein, 0g Fat, 13g Carbohydrates, 12g Sugar, 6g Added Sugar, 1g Fiber, 14mg Sodium


Sparkling Cranberry Cocktail (Non-Alcoholic)

Sparkling cranberry, grape and apple beverages are a popular choice for holiday meals, but they are usually full of unnecessary added sweetener. Welch’s Sparkling Cranberry (non-alcoholic) Cocktail has 57 grams of (natural and added) sugar in only 12 ounces! Our recipe for a sparkling cranberry drink includes 100 percent fruit juice and sparkling water, bringing the sugar content to 24 grams of all-natural sugar in 12 ounces. Add a simple sprig of rosemary to amplify the flavors and interest of this “mocktail.” At less than 100 calories for 12 ounces, don’t miss this sparkling holiday staple made healthy.

Preparation

Time: 5 minutes Servings: 2 per batch Ingredients

  • 6 ounces cranberry juice (100% juice)
  • 6 ounces apple juice
  • 12 ounces soda water
  • 2 orange or lemon slices
  • 2 tablespoons frozen cranberries
  • 2 rosemary sprigs

Directions

  1. Mix the cranberry juice, apple juice and soda water.
  2. Squeeze orange and/or lemon into beverage.
  3. Add frozen cranberries and rosemary sprigs (for garnish).

Nutrition

Per serving: 95 calories, 0g Protein, 0g Fat, 24g Carbohydrates, 24g Sugar, 0g Added Sugar, 0g Fiber, 24mg Sodium


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