If there’s one time of year when it’s okay to loosen the reins on your diet a little bit, it’s during the holidays. There are only so many times you can turn down a gingerbread cookie before you’re going to give in, right? But a word of caution: Unless you want to spend the first three months of the New Year fighting the “I’m going to lose 20 lbs. this year” crowds for the stairmaster at the gym, it’s best to practice selective indulgence.
Surprisingly, one of the biggest holiday-calorie culprits isn’t even a dessert. Your favorite seasonal cocktails and coffee drinks can come with hundreds of hidden calories. Read below to see what we mean, and how you can replace the biggest offenders with safer options.
Mulled wine: Each year, we look forward to the annual Christkindlmarket in Daley Plaza. Why? Because they serve hot, spiced wine in a mug shaped like a boot! On a cold day, it’s downright phenomenal. The fact that we now know there are more than 200 calories in one cup of our favorite, festive adult beverage won’t stop us from adding to our boot-mug collection this year, but, we might adjust the rest of our indulgent day, accordingly.
Can’t shake the craving for something warm? Try this low-cal version of the classic hot toddy from FitSugar, which will save you about 60 calories per cup.
Eggnog: List out the ingredients in this frothy holiday classic — cream, sugar, eggs, and rum – and this drink starts to sound like the makings of a decadent dessert. And with anywhere from 224-343 calories in an 8 oz. glass, it basically is.
Luckily, according to this recipe from WebMD, all it takes is a few simple swaps (like nixing the heavy cream in the traditional recipe in favor of fat-free half-and-half and skim milk) to make a guiltless version.
Hot buttered rum: The fact that the name of this drink has the word “butter” in it should be a good hint that it’s not exactly diet-friendly. One 8 oz. glass has between 220-350 calories. The good news is that we found an 85-calorie version of this seasonal fave. Nope, it’s not from Bethenny Frankel. Turns out, the original skinny girl is former Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief Helen Gurley Brown, who shared this slimmed-down drink recipe with Esquire in 1984. It’s a holiday miracle!
Seasonal coffee drinks: Booze-free drinks can kill your diet, too. Starbucks’ grande eggnog latte with whole milk has 470 calories, and that’s without whipped cream. And, if you think flavored coffee is a great way to enjoy a holiday beverage without having to skip dessert, well, you might want to think again. Though coffee is about as low-cal as it gets (about 5-10 calories per cup, black), the syrups used to flavor it can have more calories than a slice of pie. A large pumpkin coffee from Dunkin' Donuts, for example, has 210 calories. Add cream, and it becomes 330. The nutrition report is similar for DD’s peppermint mocha, gingerbread, and cinnamon swirl flavors, too.
Photo: Via Livestrong