Confectioneries, fast food joints, coffee houses and other types of food establishments just love pushing those festive, holiday drinks on their customers. Sure, they may taste great while getting everyone into the spirit of Christmas. But is it worth drinking something that has the same amount of calories as an entire meal? Then there’s the homemade holiday drinks that have one too many calories due to all the unhealthy ingredients.
Here is a list of fatty holiday drinks to avoid (keep in mind the nutritional information provided may vary depending on size and other options):
1. Starbucks Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha
The Starbucks peppermint white chocolate mocha definitely brings to mind a White Christmas, with its creamy and savory swirls. However, this calorie bomb of a drink can contain over 600 calories, 20 grams of fat and 95 grams of sugar. While it may taste like a chocolate mint in coffee form, it’s also the caloric equivalent of a main dish at most eateries. If you want to go all out, add whip cream and whole milk to the mix. But, if you want to shave off some of the fat, sugar and calories, opt for skim milk, no whipped cream and artificial sweeteners.
2. Dunkin’ Donuts Gingerbread Latte
Do you like gingerbread cookies? How about gingerbread houses? What if you could have your gingerbread fix in the form of a beverage to start your mornings? Well, you’re in luck. Dunkin’ Donuts decided to serve their festive take on this popular holiday treat in the form of a gingerbread latte. Although it is a sweet and savory alternative to your gingerbread favorites, it is not exactly a healthy one. One serving can pack up to 400 calories and 68 grams of sugar. In other words, it really is like eating gingerbread cookies in liquid form.
It doesn’t matter where you decide to purchase this stuff, nor does it matter if it is a homemade batch – eggnog is almost always an unhealthy choice for a holiday beverage. It is made of cream, sugar, milk, beaten eggs, and typically some kind of libation in the form of whisky, rum or brandy. In other words, it is a spiked egg milk shake! Fortunately, there are healthier alternatives available for those of you who need to get that once-a-year, eggnog fix. Look for store-bought varieties made with low-fat or non-fat milk, or even soy versions. And, of course, leave out the alcohol and whipped cream.
4. Mulled Wine
Mulled wine is known as a festive, holiday drink due to its origins as a way to warm people up during cold winter nights in Europe. It is also an example of how the addition of sugar and other certain ingredients can make something that can be good for you, into a bad thing. Since the main ingredient for mulled wine is red wine, one would think it’s a healthy option for a holiday libation. However, depending on the amount of sugar used to make the mulled wine, it can pack on some unnecessary calories. For a healthier version of mulled wine, focus on the cinnamon and other spices rather than the sugar when mixing the drink.
5. Hot Chocolate
Hot chocolate, made with the right ingredients, is actually not such a bad drink for the holidays. Skipping the whipped cream, marshmallows and using skim milk can make it a family favorite that you don’t have to feel guilty about serving to the kids. However, there are many hot chocolate concoctions that have no business being in the “beverage” category; not when they have enough calories to be considered a full meal.
Take, for example, the salted caramel hot chocolate from Starbucks. While the savory mix of sweet and saltiness swirling in your mouth is a delightful take on an old favorite, it also comes with 450 calories, 16g of fat and 62g of sugar in just a 16-ounce serving. Like the peppermint white chocolate mocha, you can shave some of the calories, fat and sugar by going with nonfat milk and no whipped cream.
The problem with these fatty holiday drinks is the excessive, and often over-the-top, ingredients used to make them. It’s one thing to make a beverage tasty; it’s another thing to oversaturate people’s taste buds at the cost of their health. Opting for healthier ingredients when ordering or making these beverages is a great way of drinking your holiday cheer without increasing your waistline or the risk of certain medical conditions.