Healthier Holiday Beverages

At FEED, we love festive food that encourages us to enjoy the season and embrace seasonal ingredients!

This time of year, however, many of our festive faves are full of sugar and excess calories– and seem to be available to tempt us at every turn. Rather than skipping the sweets entirely, we encourage mindful indulgences, and we’ve come up with ways to make some of our favorite holiday beverages a little “lighter” so that they can be enjoyed throughout the holiday season. Read on for some simple swaps you can make to manage your calorie intake and avoid digestive upset from too much indulging:

Homemade Hot Cocoa

Make hot cocoa at home this holiday season to reign in the sugar content. Traditional hot cocoa mixes have anywhere from 11 to 19 g of sugar per serving, and if you order one from your favorite coffee shop, small-sized cocoa can have up to 32 g– and that’s without adding any whipped cream!

Try our version instead (makes one cup of cocoa):


  • 1 cup of milk or non-dairy alternative
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons of sugar (start with 1 tsp and see if you need more!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Dash of cinnamon

DIRECTIONS: Whisk together the cocoa, sugar, and about 2 tablespoons milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until cocoa and sugar are dissolved. Whisk in the rest of the milk and heat it over low heat until it is hot. Stir in the vanilla and cinnamon and serve.

Chai Latte Lite

Avoid the chai concentrates and stick to the tea this holiday season. Although convenient, most concentrates add sugar or other sweeteners that detract from the warming spices we love in this traditional tea blend.

Once you’ve brewed the tea to your desired strength, simply add one-fourth of a cup of frothy, warm milk and your favorite additional spices to the top. We like plant-based beverages like almond or oat to add some nuttiness or coconut milk for a creamier option.


Egg Nog Smoothie

Move egg nog from the “naughty” to the “nice” list with this smoothie inspired by the creamy cocktail. Traditional egg nog has about 200 calories in only a half-cup serving, which is why we created this egg nog smoothie to enjoy the flavor without all the fat.


Wine Spritzer

Adding club soda to your cocktail helps with hydration while cutting calories. The “spritz” is the ideal drink to help you limit the amount of alcohol you consume while still feeling festive. Try these combos:

  • Prosecco, club soda, and a splash of Aperol
  • White wine, club soda, and a squeeze of lime
  • Rosé, club soda and a splash of grapefruit juice
Feeling like you’ve already overindulged this holiday season? Make an appointment with a FEED dietitian to help reestablish your healthy habits.

Sara Haas, RDN is a Registered Dietitian who specializes in culinary nutrition. She’s passionate about teaching others how to prepare nourishing food and loves sharing her expertise when it comes to meal planning. Sara loves experimenting in the kitchen with her daughter and enjoys helping others feel comfortable in their own kitchens.