It’s the most wonderful time of the year. But for most of us, it’s also the unhealthiest. With holiday parties galore, dessert tables laden with pies, cookies and more, plus the beverage count soaring to its highest point of the year, it can leave us all feeling a bit more naughty than nice. While many of us save our willpower for the dessert table, we often forget about the empty calories and grams of sugar that wind up in our hands via our favorite cocktails. That’s where we can help! Here are our healthy takes on a few holiday favorites so you can imbibe and still look and feel your absolute best.
By Amina AlTai
Vegnog (Vegan Eggnog)
If you’re looking to take a classic holiday beverage and make it kid and waistline friendly, here’s my healthier take on a holiday favorite:
1 cup pecans
4 cups coconut water
1 cup dates
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* Optional 3/4 cup dark rum or bourbon
Add all the ingredients to your blender and blend until everything it’s completely liquefied or has the texture of a smoothie. Store in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. This recipe makes a whole pitcher.
Why we love it:
The pecans add some much needed fat and protein to this traditionally sugar-rich beverage. The addition of protein and fat helps to mitigate any blood sugar spikes which makes for a merrier mood. Cinnamon is also great in supporting a healthier blood sugar as it’s reported to have blood sugar lowering properties.
The Pomegranate Spritzer
This sweet little beverage is our festive take on a vodka soda. We like it straight up with a twist.
1 cup of soda
1 tbs of coconut water crystals
3 ounces of vodka
2 tablespoons of pomegranate seeds
An orange peel (optional)
1 cup of ice
Mix the vodka and coconut crystals in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously for 5-10 seconds. Add in the soda and stir. Strain the ice and pour into the glass of your choice. Sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds, add a twist of orange if you like and serve.
Why we love it:
The coconut crystals provide much needed electrolytes to support hydration (alcohol can be very dehydrating!) Plus, the antioxidant benefits of the pomegranates make this drink a real holiday home run.
Sangria is always in season, but when we overindulge it can be a sure bet for a hangover. This lighter version, filled with healthy probiotics and electrolytes, makes for a great night out and a good morning too!
1 bottle of red wine
1 orange, sliced thinly
5 ounces cranberries
2 cups of freshly brewed green tea
1 tbs of coconut crystals
1 bottle of cranberry kombucha
Sprigs of Rosemary for garnish
Boil the kettle and make two cups of green tea and let it steep for 10 minutes. Place in the fridge and allow it to cool for up to one hour. Slice the oranges and place into a pitcher along with the cranberries. Add the Red wine, chilled green tea, kombucha and coconut crystals and stir. Pour into individual glasses and add a sprig of rosemary to each glass for garnish. Makes a full pitcher.
Why We Love It:
Traditional sangria can be so sugary and heavy, but this lighter version that is diluted with green tea and kombucha is both refreshing and full of healthy probiotics and polyphenols such as catechins, which are super powerful antioxidants.
1 oz. Peppermint Schnapps
1 oz. Vanilla Vodka
3 oz. Seltzer
Crushed candy cane for garnish
Shake all ingredients together over ice. Moisten the rim of the glass, dip in crushed candy canes and serve.
Why We Love it:
The flavored vodka and schnapps add a lot of depth and flavor without the need for sugary syrups. Plus, the candy canes make this one a real crowd-pleaser.
Frozen Cranberry Margarita
1/2 a cup of frozen cranberries
1 1/2 parts blanco tequila
2 tbs of lemon juice
1/2 a cup of coconut water
1/3 a cup of soda
1 tbs of agave or honey for sweetness
Add all ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a chilled glass and serve topless. Makes one drink.
Why we love it:
The coconut water adds a one-two-punch of hydrating electrolytes and light sweetness to this traditionally calorific and overly sweet drink.