Healthier Winter Drink Swaps

The holiday season can be a stressful time when you're trying to manage your calories and carbs. Holiday parties, family dinners and even workplace potlucks offer the backdrop for all things festive. Oil laden appetizers and sugar infused desserts aren't the only enemies however. The holidays are a time when what we drink can derail our diets just as easily as what we eat. Making wise choices when it comes to our holiday libations just might earn us enough wiggle room to allow a splurge or two from the buffet table.

Eggnog - An 8-ounce serving of traditional eggnog without alcohol has 343 calories and 34 grams of carbohydrates. For a lighter version, substitute skim milk for the whole milk, and whole milk for the heavy cream. You may also want to use a packaged egg white product rather than whole eggs. Depending on the recipe you use, you can cut your calories in half by switching out these three ingredients.

Hot chocolate - Nothing conjures up comforting memories of childhood more than a soothing cup of hot chocolate. But an 8-ounce serving made with traditional ingredients has 192 calories and 27 grams of carbohydrates. Using nonfat milk instead of whole milk and skipping the whipped cream and marshmallows can reduce the calories and carbs to a level that's much easier to swallow.

Grasshoppers - A popular alcoholic drink during the holiday season is the "grasshopper," which is made with vanilla ice cream, green crème de menthe and white Crème de Cacao. An 8-ounce serving contains approximately 560 calories and 65 grams of carbohydrates. Skip this and head for a drink without cream and save up to 460 calories! For instance, a 4-ounce serving of Skinnygirl Margarita or White Cranberry Cosmo only has 100 calories or less! Sip it slowly and alternate with sparkling water or a zero calorie soda.

There are better ways to enjoy the season, even if you'd like an adult beverage every now and then. First, limit your serving size, just as you do when you're choosing your food. Having two 100-calorie cocktails rather than three 300-calorie ones might just earn you enough freedom for that double chocolate walnut brownie you've had your eyes on all night!

Content by Cherri Megasko

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