Healthy Holiday Drinks

December 2019 - Nutrition

Rich hot chocolate with a swirl of whipped cream, creamy eggnog, and a party cocktail—or a few—are delicious and a mine field of sugar, fat, and calories. But what if you could enjoy sips of seasonal beverages that are delicious and good for you?

The season is stuffed with delicious seasonal ingredients. Why not use them as inspiration as you stir up ideas for your holiday gatherings?

Made from the inner bark of a tree, cinnamon’s potent anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties help to balance blood sugar and inhibit tumour growth, and it delivers more antioxidants than any other spice.

Studies also show promise in cinnamon’s beneficial effects on neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, and to prevent and treat cancer cells.

Use cinnamon
• Shaken into your hot chocolate with a little chili powder for added warmth
• Stirred into your lighter eggnog and hot apple juice or hard cider

Lighten your eggnog by replacing:
• Cream with milk or mylk
• Sugar with a splash of maple syrup or pureed dates
Omit the egg, and don’t forget a dash of vanilla, nutmeg, and cinnamon—or cardamom for a different touch.

Better yet? Choose tummy-warming hot apple cider for less than half the calories and zero fat. Warm with a couple of cinnamon sticks, add a twist of black pepper, and garnish with fresh cranberries or pomegranate arils for colour.

Tart cranberries are an excellent source of Vitamins C, K1, and E, manganese, and antioxidant-packed flavanol polyphenols, some of which can support urinary tract health.

The caution with cranberry juice is the amount of added sugar to make its tartness palatable. Make sure you read the label and choose 100% cranberry juice (preferably unsweetened), or those that list natural sweeteners in the form of apple or grape juice.

It’s best to avoid cranberry juice cocktails, which often contain more added sugar (often high fructose corn syrup) than real juice.

Use real cranberry juice
• With a spritz of sparkling water
• Warmed with a cinnamon stick and a drizzle of honey
• As a cocktail mixer

Cranberry Mocktail
Combine 1 cup of unsweetened orange or apple juice with ½ cup unsweetened cranberry juice. For a bit of fizz, add sparkling water or club soda to taste.

Garnish with fresh cranberries and a spring of mint.

Superfood ginger delivers powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-nausea properties, helps to normalize blood sugar and lowers cholesterol. This staple of Ayurvedic medicine is perfect in a tea to warm your bones after a cold day on the slopes, ease muscle and arthritic pain, or calm an upset tummy.

Ginger Tea
Sip this zingy tea on its own as a hot beverage or chilled as a base for mocktails and cocktails.

Per serving:
Simmer 2 tbsp raw, thinly sliced, organic ginger in 1.5­ to 2 cups of water for about 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and add 1 to 2 tbsp of honey (to taste) and an optional squeeze of lemon.

Use ginger juice
• Add grapefruit, apple, or cranberry juice, and sparkling water to taste
• Mix with brandy, bourbon, aged tequila, or hard cider

Sweet pomegranates are dripping with juicy goodness. Just one cup of arils (seeds) holds 30% of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin C, 36% of Vitamin K, 16% of folate, and 12% of potassium. Its powerful polyphenols are packed with anti-inflammatories and three times the antioxidants of red wine and green tea that help to remove free radicals and protect cells from damage, reduce inflammation, and improve digestion.

Use unsweetened pomegranate juice
• With sparkling water and a lime wedge for garnish
• In a white or red wine or vodka cocktail
• Added to to a holiday punch with a wedge of lime and/or a few arils for a pop of colour. 

Chili Hot Chocolate
Per serving:
1 cup of 2% milk or plant-based mylk
¼ tsp vanilla
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¹/8 tsp ground chili powder or cayenne
1 tbsp grated dark chocolate or cocoa

Warm milk and spices over medium-low heat. Stir in chocolate and continue stirring until melted. Enjoy!

Probiotic Punch
With a variety of flavours, kombucha’s sour-sweet fizziness is the perfect healthy mixer. It’s so delicious you’ll forget it’s packed with probiotics, B vitamins, and antioxidants! So get experimenting!
• Fragrant botanical flavours with gin, white wine, or prosecco
• Berry flavours with vodka, tequila, or whiskey
• Apple or pear flavours with spiced rum
• Sub ginger kombucha for ginger ale
• Sub cranberry kombucha for cranberry juice in Cosmopolitans

Looking for more healthy drink options? Check out our Cold Press Juice Cocktails.

Article was published in The Good Life magazine.

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