Low-Calorie Versions of Traditional Holiday Drinks

How to Lighten Up Your Favorite High-Calorie Holiday Drinks

egg nog

We all know how hard it is to stick to a healthy eating plan when it comes to the holidays… those sneaky, delicious tree shaped cookies that show up at the office or the delicious meals that could feed an army. However, did you know that oftentimes it’s not the food that puts us over the top, but rather high calorie drinks? Here is an eye-opening guide to some popular holiday drinks and tips to lighten them up:


Eggnog is traditionally made with milk or cream, sugar, eggs and bourbon, rum or brandy. An 8 oz. serving has 340 calories and 20g of sugar.
Lighten Up – choose lower fat dairy, egg whites and add only the minimum amount of sugar you need.

Hot Buttered Rum

Hot buttered rum is a combination of rum, butter, sugar, and spices. An 8 oz. serving is 300 calories and 12g of fat.
Lighten Up – The biggest challenge of hot buttered rum is that it relies only on the butter and sugar for flavor. Cut down on the butter and sugar and substitute lemon juice, pumpkin spices and vanilla extract. You will still appreciate the creaminess of the butter but the other spices will enhance the flavor.

Mulled Cider with Brandy

Mulled cider is actually one of my favorite drinks of the holiday season. However, an 8 oz. serving can have 300 calories and 40g of sugar.
Lighten Up – Try a Hot Toddy instead and go easy on the honey. You will save about 150 calories and 20g of sugar.

Chocolate Martini

Although a chocolate martini may look innocent and delicate, a single serving has 400 calories and 35g of sugar.
Lighten Up – Opt for a Bailey’s Irish Cream and hot Coffee. You will get the creaminess you are craving at only 150 calories.


A 5oz. serving of red wine is 125 calories and only 1g of sugar.
Lighten Up – Although wine is the least offender of the group per serving, the biggest problem is that we tend to have more than one serving. In fact, we tend to have many! Cut down on your servings of wine by alternating wine and water. You can also add on part sparkling water to one part wine. This will add some extra hydration and cut down on the impact of the wine.

White Chocolate Mocha

Not all of the culprits contain alcohol. Some of the worst offenders are at your local coffee shop! This Grande White chocolate Mocha has 500 calories with 63g of carbohydrates.
Lighten Up – Opt for a Tall with non-fat milk and no whipped cream and you will save 250 calories and 15g of sugar.

As with everything, moderation is the key. If having your favorite cocktail or coffee drink significantly adds to the joy of the holiday, take a smaller portion, savor it and truly enjoy it. You will get to appreciate the tastes and indulgences of the holidays without paying for it until summer!

Tara Coleman

Tara Coleman is a Clinical Nutritionist with a private practice in San Diego, CA. She speaks nationally on the topics of health and nutrition and has been cited as a nutrition expert by media such as NBC, FOX, SELF, Cosmopolitan and Dr. Oz The Good Life. Download her FREE 4 Step Nutrition Quick Start Guide and start feeling better today!

Leave a Reply