By Patrice Powers-Barker, OSU Extension, Lucas County
The Truth Contributor
When it comes to the wintertime season and the end of the year with events and parties, there are many reminders about what NOT to eat or drink during this busy time of year. It is important to remember that many holiday drinks might be high in calories or even fat. For example, drinks like egg nog or coffee shop drinks can be high in fat, sugar and calories.
Cornell University offers a reminder, “cheers to good health – quench your thirst with low-calorie options”. Let’s switch one word and offer “Cheers to good health – quench your thirst with healthy options”.
As a reminder, if you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation. The recommendations are up to one drink a day for women and up to two drinks a day for men. This article will focus on options for non-alcoholic drinks for any time of the day and for a wide variety of people, including children. Whether you are hosting a group or preparing your own drink, there are easy ways to keep it healthy and dress it up for this busy time of year.
A few benefits of healthy, winter drinks:
- Keep you hydrated
- Add additional nutrients to your day
- Don’t add hidden calories to your day
- Encourage you to enjoy yourself, your company and the chance to relax
Water. Certainly, water is a valuable drink for everyone but not everyone prefers a glass of plain water. This is a good time to make a pitcher of infused water and store it in the refrigerator. Use fruits that are on sale or in season. Add slices of citrus fruits or apples. Add berries. Have a drink of sparkling water or add some sparkling water to a glass of 100% fruit juice for a fruit flavored spritzer.
Warm Drinks. When it comes to hot drinks, people often have their favorites. Whether you are a coffee drinker or prefer hot tea, consider adding additional options to your day. Whether you’re an adult who loves a hot cocoa or you’re making plans for the children’s drink options, hot chocolate can be a good way to add some calcium to the day. If you have not enjoyed a cup of hot tea recently, check out all the options at the grocery store. There are so many different kinds and flavors especially when you look at herbal teas!
Hosting a party? Cranberry Apple Cider is easy to make. There are no specific measurements for this warm drink in the slow cooker. Just add fresh cranberries, whole cinnamon sticks, whole cloves and 100 percent apple juice to the slow cooker. Let it warm up on high or keep it on low for the day.
If you are hosting a party, consider making it easier on yourself to serve hot drinks by using a hot beverage carafe. University of Nebraska Extension points out that some guests may prefer a hot drink like coffee or tea either before or after a meal. In order to have hot beverages available over a period of time, carafes can help keep drinks hot and fresh tasting for hours. It beats making several small amounts of drinks or letting it sit around too long to either color off or on the heat source for an undesirable flavor.
They offer this tip: Preheat the carafe by filling it with hot water while you prepare the hot beverage. One the drink is ready, empty the hot water and fill the carafe with your beverage. The hot water heats it up to help keep your drinks warm for longer. Some coffee makers come with carafes. When purchasing a new one, look for a carafe that easy to use and clean.
Festive drinks. Sometimes these holiday specials are called “mocktails” if they’re made without the alcohol. These are nice to have for those who are young or not drinking alcohol at holiday parties. Like the spritzer mentioned above, it can be as easy as combining 100% fruit juice and sparkling water. In addition, add some tasty garnishes such as berries or fruit slices.
Enjoy. I know many people live a fast-paced life and it seems to speed up at the end of the year! If you can take a few minutes to yourself to quietly enjoy a warm cup of coffee or tea, the “to do” list will still be there in 10 minutes. Whether you choose a mocktail or choose to indulge in a high calorie or alcoholic drink, enjoy the taste of the drink and the company around you. If you are rushed or feeling stressed out, remind yourself to grab a drink of water.
Sources: Nebraska Extension, Cornell Extension, Produce for Better Health Foundation, Utah State 4-H Food and Nutrition