Seasonal drinks reign during the month of December, whether you’re snuggling in for a cozy evening at home or attending a raucous holiday party with all your best friends. Although we love to indulge here and there, pacing is critical at this time of year. Trust us — you’ll want to get the facts on your favorite drinks before you start sipping with abandon.
Eggnog, a drink that’s become synonymous with the holiday season, makes appearances at company parties, grandma’s house and everywhere in between. Composed primarily of milk, cream and eggs, it’s exceptionally delicious — and exceptionally unhealthy. One cup of the stuff contains 350 calories, loads of saturated fat and 50% of your daily cholesterol allowance — and often additional calories from booze. So pour in moderation this year, and if you’re making eggnog at home, be sure to use pasteurized eggs to reduce the risk of salmonella.
One of our favorites, mulled wine is also one of the healthier drink options during the holiday season. Made with red wine, spices and either apple cider or water, it usually contains 100 to 200 calories per cup, but without all the cholesterol and fat content of heavier beverages like eggnog. Even when cooked, red wine can help reduce inflammation, and this concoction also provides healthy doses of Vitamins A and C while warming you from the inside out.
For years we heard the phrase “hot buttered rum” and wondered what such a delectable sounding drink might taste like. Key ingredients include sugar, butter, rum and often either ice cream or heavy cream, so get ready for a sugar rush. This doctored-up rum usually contains around 200 to 300 calories per serving — a pretty hefty commitment for one drink. Sadly, hot buttered rum doesn’t offer any confirmed healing benefits, although the addition of honey doesn’t hurt.
Last but certainly not least, hot chocolate reigns as the perennial holiday favorite of kids everywhere. Adults love a good hot cocoa too — but maybe not the accompanying calorie count. A grande at Starbucks will run you 400 calories plus 50% of your daily saturated fat intake, while making an instant brand at home only contains about 100 calories. Whether made with milk or water, hot chocolate also tends to be a good source of calcium. We like to add a few marshmallows — in moderation, of course.