Smart Holiday Beverage Choices | STACK

Smart Holiday Beverage Choices

January 5, 2013 | Lynn Grieger

Must See Nutrition Videos


Editor's note: the alcoholic beverage recommendations in this article are meant for people 21 years of age and older.

Eggnog, hot chocolate with marshmallows and the latest specialty martinis are part of many holiday celebrations. You may pass on a piece of fudge or skip the hot wings, but it's likely that you are indulging in delicious drinks that may be adding inches to your waistline.

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (May 2009 issue) showed that reducing intake of sugar-sweetened beverages leads to gradual weight loss. You may have successfully eliminated soda and sweetened fruit beverages from your daily diet, but you can easily take in more than 500 calories in holiday beverages at just one party. Attend two to three parties each week and your clothes might be too tight by the time January rolls around.

Adding alcohol to a sugar-sweetened beverage only makes the problem worse. One gram of alcohol has seven calories, compared with four calories per gram of carbohydrate or protein. Ounce for ounce, you can consume almost twice as many carbs and protein as you can alcohol.

Alcohol also decreases motivation to make healthy choices. Before you know it, you can devour an entire day's worth of calories at one holiday buffet. If you're an athlete, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends limiting alcohol consumption to 48 hours before competition or intense practice, noting that it inhibits athletic performance.

When deciding what to drink during the holidays, make sure to avoid these beverages:

Eggnog

There's nothing remotely healthy about eggnog, which is made with egg yolks, cream, sugar and rum. One cup contains 340 calories and 56 percent of your daily saturated fat allotment.

Starbucks Peppermint Mocha Frappuchino (16 oz.)

This beverage, made with whole milk and whipped cream, contains 420 calories and 16 grams of fat. You may try to fool yourself into thinking anything made with milk and chocolate is good for you, but in this case, you'd be wrong.

Holiday Punch

Holiday punch recipes made with fruit juice have to be healthy, right? Wrong. Fruit beverages are often laced with added sugar. Mix in sweetened club soda, tonic water or ginger ale and the sugar content skyrockets. Plus, punch often contains more alcohol than you realize.

FROM AROUND THE WEB

Martinis

Holiday-themed martinis are festive, but they typically contain sweetened juice and at least two ounces of alcohol, weighing in at more than 300 calories per cocktail.

Instead, opt for these drinks:

Bloody Mary

A Bloody Mary limits sugar consumption and adds the health benefits of antioxidants found in tomato choice. You can even eat a stalk of celery for a fiber boost.

Sparkling Water

Choose fizzy mineral water or seltzer instead of tonic water to help you stay hydrated. Add lemon, lime or a splash of pomegranate juice to infuse some flavor.

Hot Peppermint Tea

Tea contains virtually no calories and is a great substitute for sugary and fatty coffee drinks.

Champagne

Reach for bubbly champagne instead of wine or mixed drinks, since six ounces of champagne contains only 120 calories. Or try a wine spritzer, a mixture of white wine and mineral water topped with a lime slice for a festive beverage with only half the alcohol.

Photo: abcnews.com

More Cool Stuff You'll Like

The Meal Plan That Helped Shea McClellin Add 11 Pounds of Muscle

Eat Junk Food Without Sacrificing Your Performance

Is All Sugar Bad for You?

How Fatty Is Your Thanksgiving?

An Athlete's Guide to Calcium

3 Nutrition Hacks to Improve Your Sports Performance

6 Reasons Your Weight Fluctuates Every Day

Should Athletes Follow a Pescetarian Diet?

The Skinny on Good Fat vs. Bad Fat

The Great Burger Battle: Which One Is Best for Athletes?

How the Glycemic Index Can Help Your Athletic Performance

Taco Bell Launching New High-Protein Menu

Why Can't I Stop Gaining Weight?

Pre-Game Nutrition: What to Eat Before You Compete

Survive Two-a-Days With 5 Fueling Tips From the Houston Texans

3 Unlikely Ways to Lose Fat

LeBron Cuts Carbs This Summer. Should You?

6 Ways to Power Up Your Oatmeal

Grab the Salt Shaker: Why Athletes Need to Eat More Sodium

Got (Almond) Milk? How 6 Popular Milk Alternatives Measure Up

Protein Powder Potato Chips? ProTings, Reviewed

The 5 Foods That Will Rule 2015

How to Build a Performance-Fueling Smoothie

Building a Healthy Pizza: Tips and Recipes

Eat Like a Champion, Part 1: How to Build Muscle in the Kitchen

7 Pro Athletes Who Succeed Despite Having Horrible Diets

Low Workout Stamina? Your Diet May Be the Culprit

5 Basketball Pre-Game Snacks for Full-Game Energy

Build Muscle With This Diet for Young Athletes

Why You Need a Bedtime Snack

Coconut Sugar: What Is It, and Is It Good for You?

4 Common Nutrition Questions Answered

A Healthier Milk, Brought to You By Coca-Cola. Wait, What?

What Else Are You Drinking? The Truth About BPA Dangers

The 7 Best Nuts for Your Health and Performance

5 Drinks You Had No Idea Were As Bad As (or Worse Than) Soda

The Food Rules for Building Muscle

High Fructose Corn Syrup vs. Sugar: What's The Difference?

We Tried Cricket Protein Bars. Should You?

The Mineral Most Athletes Need More Of in Their Diets

Make Rotisserie Chicken Better With 2 Simple No-Cook Recipes

6 Fruits and Veggies You Aren't Eating But Should Be

Do You Need Protein Immediately After Your Workout?