While the practice of intuitive eating can help to remove the stress and anxiety often experienced around the holidays, diet culture is especially loud this time of year, setting unnecessary limits and rules on what and how much we can enjoy. An influx of messages perpetuates fears around wintertime favorites, including warm drinks. So, are lighter swaps worth it?
Not so much. Avoiding the real deal can leave you feeling unsatisfied and wanting more. But fostering a mindset of allowance, as opposed to a mindset of restriction, will help to lessen instances of feeling out-of-control around food and drink.
Here’s a list of five winter beverages that will not only give you a delicious experience to strive for, but will also leave you enjoying the holiday season without food-related guilt, stress or anxiety.
One of the most widely known holiday drinks, eggnog, with its distinctive flavor, brings so much tradition to the holiday season. Traditional recipes combine eggs with cream, milk and sugar—making this a decadent option savored by those with a sweet tooth. When compared to other drinks, eggnog is the most energy-dense. But this isn’t a reason to say no. Including eggnog within the context of an otherwise balanced diet will offer pleasurable experiences for those who enjoy it. But while most store-bought varieties are pasteurized, traditional varieties are still made with raw eggs, which can risk food poisoning. To lessen this risk, choose options made only with pasteurized ingredients. And quick tip: If you’re making your own, swap raw eggs with pasteurized liquid eggs (often sold in a carton).
Famous among chocolate fans, this decadent cup will not only leave you feeling extra-satisfied, it will also give you a boost in the feel-good hormone dopamine. Create a richer cup with the addition of cacao powder, known to be rich in polyphenols—most notably flavanols, which hold potent anti-inflammatory properties and may even help to reduce blood pressure.
Pumpkin Spice Lattes
Nothing represents the fall more than pumpkin spice. Pumpkin spice lattes are especially popular as they warm us up with their creamy texture and complex flavor. Added syrups give this drink its unique flavor profile and, without doubt, a punch of sweetness. Compared to other coffee beverages, lattes have a higher concentration of milk, which offers bone-building nutrients like calcium and vitamin D. Instead of stressing over the sugar content or calorie count, consider this choice as your afternoon energy booster. And avoid surges in blood sugar by pairing your latte with a balanced snack that is particularly rich in protein and fiber. Examples include nuts, whole-grain crackers and/or fibrous fruit like apples and pears.
This alcoholic drink is sometimes called spiced wine. An infusion of spices and fruits adds a layer of complexity to the drink, one that offers a distinctive flavor during the holidays. Some varieties of mulled wine even include an extra splash of liquor and a sweetener, so dancers and dance teachers should practice safe drinking habits, like staying off the roads, when consuming this beverage. As with pumpkin spice lattes, you could include wine as part of an otherwise balanced meal to prevent surges in blood sugar.
The simplest of the bunch, but with no less flavor. A simple cup of peppermint tea might be all you need to navigate the cold winter months. Adding a drizzle of honey will offer an additional boost in energizing carbohydrates. Peppermint has also been shown to help in the relief of digestive discomfort. This can be especially helpful following holiday meals that are larger and less familiar to your usual routine.