Posted by Zahra Nielsen

How to choose the best holiday drinks for your health

December 20, 2022 Family MedicineWeight Management

Most of us are focused on our food choices this holiday season, but what we drink should not be overlooked when it comes to our health. Hot cocoa, eggnog, warm apple cider…the list goes on when it comes to the traditional holiday beverages that make this time of year merrier. While treating yourself to tasty refreshments every once in a while doesn’t hurt, there are ways to practice nutritious habits so you can stay committed to your health-conscious lifestyle this holiday season.

When surrounded by so many beverage options, a good way to make your selection is to look at which ones have the highest health benefits. Then, you can get creative with small additions so you don’t have to compromise on flavor. Here are some options to consider:

Spice it up

Warm spices like ginger, nutmeg, and clove may contain antioxidants, which can boost your heart health and stabilize your blood sugar. Peppermint also has anti-bloating properties that can help support digestion and alleviate nausea. By sprinkling in your favorite holiday spices or adding fresh herbs to your tea, you’ll get to enjoy a soothing beverage and reap the full, flavorful benefits.

What to avoid
The hot chocolate bar may have dozens of sweet treats like whipped cream, marshmallows, and sprinkles, but adding extra toppings to your drinks can add unnecessary empty calories. Avoid the temptation of piling on the goodies and instead focus on what nutritional value you can add to your refreshments.

Choose natural over refined sugars

Not all sugars are unhealthy. Wanting to add some sweetness to your drink? Try reaching for a few teaspoons of honey. This natural sweetener contains anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial agents, as well as necessary minerals like zinc and iron. If you’re planning on using apple or orange juice for your cider or cocktails, make sure the packaging reads 100% fruit juice. Real fruit juice contains important vitamins like Vitamin C and potassium, which can strengthen your immune system and help you get your daily recommended dose of fruit.

What to avoid
Even natural sweeteners can increase your blood sugar, however, they still contain many important vitamins and minerals. Processed (refined) sugar, on the other hand, has no added nutrients. When weighing the health benefits, it’s best to go with some nutritional value over none.

Opt for low-calorie options

Joining the holiday celebrations is more fun with a drink in your hand, but you might be unknowingly consuming hundreds of sugary calories. Instead of resorting to diet soda, consider the following low-calorie drink options:

  • Herbal tea
  • Kombucha (a sweet, fermented, and carbonated tea)
  • Sparkling water
  • Low-fat or Non-dairy milk alternatives
  • Red wine (in moderation)
  • Coffee (with no added sugar and minimal creamer)

What to avoid
Although it might be customary to ring in the new year with a bottle of champagne, consuming too much alcohol can negatively impact your liver, kidneys, heart, and other organs. Additionally, holiday-themed cocktails are often loaded with sugar and fat, which only adds to your calorie count.

Following a health plan during holiday gatherings can be tricky, but it’s not impossible. Sticking to a nutritious diet is one of the best ways to achieve optimal health and well-being. If you need help, contact Revere Health’s Weight loss and Nutrition center and schedule a consultation with one of our registered dietitians. Together, we can create a personalized lifestyle plan that will help you achieve your weight-loss goals and take control over your health.

WRITTEN BY:

Zahra Nielsen

Zahra Nielsen currently serves as Revere Health’s Community Relations Specialist. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Science from Utah Valley University with the intention of working with at-risk communities, but she has since found a love for community engagement, volunteerism, and outreach. Since graduating, her career has taken her to non-profit organizations across the country. From Washington D.C, New York, and Salt Lake City, she has had the opportunity to work with notable organizations such as the National Council for Adoption, Volunteers of America, and United Way. After years of working in different areas of community engagement, Zahra has found her niche in writing. She hopes to pursue this creative form of outreach as a way of inspiring community members to be mindful of their well-being and the well-being of others. In her free time, Zahra likes to practice and teach yoga. She also enjoys live theatre, listening to music, and watching endless hours of quirky movies and TV shows with her husband.

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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.