Getting Into A Healthy Holiday “Spirit”

By Jeannine Re McNamarra, RDN

Holiday Season Tips

During the Holiday Season, a celebratory cocktail at each of the many parties and gatherings we attend can add up. Combine this with the extra special holiday foods and your waistline and health can suffer. Did you know that alcohol is the second most calorie-dense nutrient, second only to fat?

And that although drinking alcohol seems to put you in a festive mood, in excess, it can also leave you feeling depressed? We all enjoy a drink or two, but when we overindulge do we really like the hangover we have the next day, or knowing we went a little crazy being the life of the party? Let’s talk about ways to enjoy all the festivities without going off the deep end, with some healthier cocktail choices.

Have a Chaser

Follow each alcoholic drink with some flavored water or seltzer This not only slows down how much alcohol you consume over the course of a party but also leaves no room for anyone to hand you another drink (no one knows its non alcoholic), and hydrates you so you won’t have a nasty headache from dehydration the next day.


More Tips

• Have drinks that are lighter on alcohol such as spritzers, and drinks with limited ingredients.

• Sip but never chug drinks.

• Say no to shots.

• Be entertained by getting to know the other guests or observing those foolish enough to have one too many, not by drinking.

• Try one of the following healthy drink recipes and enjoy!

Spirited Almond “Soda”
Fill a Collins Glass with ice
Pour 1 oz of Amaretto over ice
Top with Seltzer
Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry and a Slice of Orange

Light Nutella Eggnog
Serves about 6. Recipe inspired by Food Network.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: About 15 minutes

1 1/2 cups 1% milk
1/4 cup light cream
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon corn starch or flour
1 vanilla bean
2 tablespoons of Nutella
1/4 cup Captain Morgan spiced rum

Heat 1 1/2 cups milk in a medium-size saucepan. Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Add the pods and seeds to the milk. Bring to a simmer and let thicken, about 6 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk eggs, egg yolk, sugar, and flour/cornstarch together until fully mixed. Once the milk mixture has thickened, add it to the bowl of egg mixture. Carefully whisk them together. Immediately pour the egg/milk mixture back into the saucepan. Let simmer again until thick, stirring constantly) until mixture thicks to the back of a spoon), or about 6 – 8 minutes. *Do not skip the stirring part, otherwise, the mixture will congeal.

Once thickened, remove from the heat and stir in the cream to stop the cooking. Whisk in the Nutella until fully mixed. Place eggnog on an ice bath, whisking constantly, until cooled. *Do not skip this part either, or else the mixture will thicken too quick into a pudding-like substance. Once chilled, whisk in rum and serve!

Nutritional information per serving (about 1/2 cup):
Calories: 164.5
Fat: 7 grams
Carbohydrates: 10.3 grams
Fiber: 2 grams
Protein: 5 grams
Weight Watchers Points:  3

Peppermint Cosmo
Makes 8 drinks
1 Cup of pomegranate juice
The juice of 1 lime
4 Ounces of vodka
1/4 teaspoon of peppermint extract
8 ice cubes
8 mini candy canes
2 TBsps of chopped, fresh mint

1. Combine juices, vodka, peppermint and 1/2 cup water in a shaker with ice.
2. Shake vigorously and strain into 8 shot glasses.
3. Garnish with candy canes and mint.