Healthy Spins on Classic Holiday Coffee Drinks

| WRITTEN BY: Patricia Bannan, MS, RDN
holiday coffee drink latte with mistletoe and cranberries on marble

Now that the holiday season is upon us, so are the fun and festive holiday coffee drinks! Here are my tips and simple tweaks to make these holiday treats a little healthier.

The holiday season is here, and even though it may look a little different this year, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some of your favorite festive sips and holiday coffee drinks. Many of these beverages can be loaded with calories and sugar, so if you are looking for a healthier way to enjoy these treats, here are my favorite tips!

Healthy White Chocolate Mocha

If you’re a chocolate lover, the white chocolate mocha is probably right up your alley. What may not be is how many calories and sugar one of these can pack in. A typical 16 ounce serving contains 430 calories, more than half the daily recommendation for saturated fat, and a whopping 53 grams of sugar.

Here are my tips for making this drink with a healthier treat:

  • Order a “short” – Cutting the serving down to half the size (8 ounces instead of 16 ounces) automatically cuts the calories, sugar, and saturated fat in half.
  • Skip the whip – Opting for no whipped cream cuts an extra 70 calories, and extra teaspoon of sugar.
  • Go easy on the sauce – A typical order contains 4 pumps of the white chocolate mocha sauce. Opting for only 2 will save you 120 calories, and 22 grams of sugar, while still giving you the same sweet flavor.

Healthier Chai Latte

Nothing may be more warming and comforting once the weather gets cool. While this latte isn’t as much of a heavy hitter as the mocha, a typical serving still contains 240 calories, 2 grams of saturated fat, and 42 grams of sugar. 

To lighten up your latte:

  • Opt for tea instead – If you love the warming spices of chai, opt for a chai tea instead of the latte. Add your own milk and sweetener instead of the latte, which can cut calories and sugar in half or more.
  • Switch out your milk – Swapping out the usual 2% milk for steamed almond milk saves you about 50 calories, and 2 teaspoons of sugar.
  • Order a “short” – Just like the mocha, opting for the smaller size cuts the calories and sugar in this latte in half.

Healthy Peppermint Mocha 

holiday coffee drink peppermint mocha on wooden board

One of the quintessential sweet coffee drinks of the holidays is the peppermint mocha. If you love that chocolate and mint combination, this is your drink! A typical serving packs in 440 calories, half of the daily recommended limit for saturated fat, and 54 grams of sugar.

Here’s how to make this drink a little healthier:

  • Skip the whip & chocolate curls – The drink is sweet and chocolatey enough without them. Skipping the extra toppings saves almost 100 calories, and 2 teaspoons of sugar.
  • Watch the sauce – A typical peppermint mocha contains 4 pumps each of peppermint sauce and mocha sauce. Lowering each to just 3 pumps cuts an additional 52 calories, and 11 grams of sugar.
  • Swap your milk – Simply swapping out the usual 2% milk for skim saves you 50 calories without even noticing a difference.

Healthier Gingerbread Latte

Nothing screams holiday coffee drinks quite like a gingerbread latte! This seasonal treat typically contains 330 calories, 9 grams of saturated fat, and 38 grams of sugar.

Here are some simple ways to make this cookie in coffee a bit healthier:

  • Order a “short” – If you want the full experience, simple opt for the small size to cut calories and sugar in half.
  • Skip the whipped cream – Giving the topping a pass saves you 70 calories and an extra teaspoon of sugar.
  • Go for almond milk – Opting for almond milk instead of the usual 2% will shave off 50 calories, and 2 teaspoons of sugar.

Make your own holiday coffee drink, tea, mocktail, or shake

If you want to make your holiday drinks healthier, opt for a homemade latte or mocha. Not only does that give you full control over how many calories and amounts of sweetener you add, but is also a cheaper option as well. This is especially helpful when the weather gets really cold and snowy, keeping you from having to brave the elements!

If you’re looking for more fun drinks to make at home, check out some of my favorites below:

Sleepy Lavender Chamomile Milk

Pomegranate Ginger Mojito Mocktail

Dark Chocolate Avocado Mousse Smoothie

Pomegranate Cacao Breakfast Milkshake

What’s your favorite holiday drink? Please share, I’d love to hear!

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