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Friend celebrating together and holding cups of warm tea. Christmas tree in background.

As the holidays come around, so do those delicious holiday drinks. Although popular holiday drinks might be tasty, their calorie and fat count might startle you a bit. To help find some healthy alternatives, I met with the founder and CEO of Savorfull, Stacey Goldberg, and nutrition consultant Alex Kennedy. Together, they came up with some appealing drink alternatives to get you through the holiday season.

Whether you’re trying to head down the healthy route this holiday season, or you’re up for trying something new, these options are a great way to cut back on calories while still enjoying your favorite holiday drinks.


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I’m a huge fan of seasonal beers, and I love when the holiday brews come out. Holiday beers like Bell’s Christmas Ale or Samuel Adams Winter Lager have around 200 calories per bottle, so unless you plan on only having one beer, those calories can add up.

Try going for something with fewer calories, such as Peak Organic Winter Session Ale which has 150 calories. You can also try kombucha beer, an ale with a lower alcohol content that provides probiotics to support healthy digestion and gut health.

Gingerbread Martini

9 Holiday Drink Swaps for the Holidays - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

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Gingerbread is a great holiday flavor, making a gingerbread martini a holiday must-have! Instead of using all the ingredients in the original recipe, try these simple alternatives!

Swap out the ice cream for frozen Greek yogurt. Not only will it cut down on calories, but Greek yogurt provides a boost of protein. You could also use fat-free whipped cream and use less gingerbread syrup. If more sweetness is needed, add honey or stevia.

If alcohol content isn’t important to you, use low-fat milk or almond milk instead of Bailey’s to help cut down on fat, but keep the creaminess of the beverage.

White Russian

9 Holiday Drink Swaps for the Holidays - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

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The White Russian is a classic and popular holiday drink. Although the original recipe only calls for three ingredients, you can make this delicious drink healthier!

Swapping out heavy cream for 2% milk or almond milk lowers the calorie and fat count, and Kahlua will keep your drink delicious and creamy.

Kahlua Hot Chocolate

9 Holiday Drink Swaps for the Holidays - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

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Kahlua is a very popular liqueur during the holidays, so why not put it in classic hot chocolate? Use low-fat milk or almond milk to lower calories and fat in this delicious hot chocolate. Instead of using two tablespoons of sugar like the original recipe calls for, try making it with pure maple syrup or raw honey for a healthier alternative. If you don’t have those on hand, try a zero-calorie sweetener such as Stevia.

You can also omit the caramel and chocolate syrup for another healthy alternative to this classic drink.

Nonalcoholic Drinks

The holidays don’t have to be all about the alcoholic drinks. Check out these nonalcoholic healthy alternatives for you or your children to enjoy this holiday season.

Old-Fashioned Eggnog

9 Holiday Drink Swaps for the Holidays - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

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According to Merriam-Webster, nog is a strong ale formerly brewed in Norfolk, England. Although a lot of recipes for eggnog are spiked, old-fashioned eggnog is a great drink for the entire family. By swapping out a few ingredients from the original recipe, you can make this drink a great healthy treat!

Use low-fat milk, coconut milk or almond milk as an alternative for regular milk. Raw honey or pure maple syrup add vitamins and minerals while also adding sweetness to your eggnog.

Shirley Temple

9 Holiday Drink Swaps for the Holidays - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

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A Shirley Temple is a great drink for children and adults, but the original recipe can add many calories to your diet. Try using 100% cherry juice, or cherry juice with no added sugar to provide you with more vitamins and minerals than grenadine.

Swap out the lemon-lime soda for flavored seltzer or soda water to help cut down on sugar and calories, and add limes and lemons for a citrus taste.

Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate

9 Holiday Drink Swaps for the Holidays - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

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When I was little, Swiss Miss was my go-to for hot chocolate. One pack of Swiss Miss is 138 calories, and that’s not including the milk and any other toppings you might add.

For a great alternate hot chocolate recipe, use low-fat milk or almond milk, honey or stevia, and unsweetened cocoa powder. Unsweetened cocoa powder is a great alternative because it’s only 12 calories per tablespoon and will give you the great chocolate taste that you want!

Peppermint White Hot Chocolate

9 Holiday Drink Swaps for the Holidays - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

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Candy canes are the ultimate holiday candy, making peppermint a popular holiday flavor. Peppermint white hot chocolate is a great drink for children and adults, and it doesn’t take many ingredients. This tasty (and healthier) drink calls for low-fat 2% milk or almond milk, fat-free whipped cream, peppermint extract and crushed peppermint topping instead of a whole candy cane in the drink. If you want to add an adult twist to the drink, you can try adding peppermint vodka.

Leave a comment below if you’ve tried any of these drink alternatives, or if you have your own recipe you’d like to share!

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. When I first read the title of this section I thought it was going to be good ideas for avoiding the increased alcohol use that happens around the holidays and potential for drunk driving. But no, you weren’t worried about that, you were just worried about calories. Personally, I think putting some good non-alcoholic drink ideas on a list would have been a better idea!

    1. Hi Ronda:

      We certainly encourage moderation in the use of the alcoholic beverages mentioned. Everyone should know their limits. When in doubt, give up the keys. That said, I think it’s possible that you didn’t get down to the section on non-alcoholic drinks. Personally, those are the only options I would touch as I don’t drink myself. I encourage you to give this post a second look and enjoy a nice peppermint white hot chocolate. Happy holidays!

      Kevin Graham

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