HEALTHIER HOLIDAYS! ISSUE #488 11/30/11
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8 Lower-Calorie Holiday Cocktails

By Stephanie S. Saunders

Who doesn't like a good cocktail during the holidays? Sure, spending 3 days straight with your extended family might have something to do with it, but beside that, nearly everyone likes to let loose at this time of year. And there are plenty of occasions to do so. From the office holiday party to the lighting of the menorah to the various eve and morning festivities, there's no shortage of celebrations that can involve libations.

Woman Blowing Snow Off Her Hand

Unfortunately, most holiday cocktails tend to give the double gift of too much fat and too many calories. One cup of eggnog has 343 calories and 19 grams of fat! It's a meal in a cup, with a ton of added fat and sugar. Then there are the hot chocolates, mulled ciders, and traditional grogs that chase away the winter chill but help you hang on to the pounds. And don't forget about all the themed mixed drinks that make parties a bit more fun while making your waistline a bit more full. So how do you enjoy the fun of the holiday season without having to hide behind bulky sweaters till July? Here are 8 fun drink ideas that are lower in fat, calories, and sugar than their original versions.

  1. Pumpkin Pie MartiniPumpkin Pie Martini. Yeah, I know. It's as good as it sounds. There are several pumpkin liqueurs on the market, which are convenient, but add a ton of calories. By using the actual squash, you get the flavor without the calories—and, believe it or not, a little fiber in your drink.
    • 6 oz. vanilla-flavored vodka
    • 6 oz. canned unsweetened pumpkin
    • 4 oz. fat-free condensed milk
    • 4 oz. unsweetened almond milk (or fat-free milk)
    • 4 Tbsp. pumpkin pie seasoning
    • Ice cubes
    • 6 crushed reduced-fat vanilla wafers
    Place vodka and pumpkin in a bowl, and stir until pumpkin has dissolved. Stir in condensed milk and almond milk. Add seasoning and stir well. Dip rims of glasses in crushed vanilla wafers. Pour liquid over ice into glass and enjoy. Makes 6 servings.
Nutritional Information (per serving):
Calories Protein Fiber Carbs Fat Total Saturated Fat
105 1 g 2 g 6 g < 1 g < 1 g
  1. GrogGrog. Its rich history dates back 400 years, when it used to be rationed out to sailors at sea. The big babies wouldn't drink their scurvy-preventing dose of lemon juice straight, so the powers that be dressed it up with a little rum. Since the additional ingredients only serve to make it that much tastier, it stands to reason that being "three sheets to the wind" was fairly common.
    • Juice of 2 lemons
    • 1 whole lemon peel
    • 1 whole orange peel
    • 4 Tbsp. sugar
    • 4 whole cloves
    • 4 cinnamon sticks
    • 10 oz. water
    • 4 oz. golden rum
    Place lemon juice, lemon peel, orange peel, sugar, cloves, cinnamon sticks, and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer and let simmer for 15 minutes, remove from heat, and slowly stir in rum. Pour though a fine strainer into mugs; place one of the cinnamon sticks in each mug as a garnish. Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional Information (per serving):
Calories Protein Fiber Carbs Fat Total Saturated Fat
118 < 1 g < 1 g 14 g < 1 g < 1 g
  1. Gingerbread ToddyGingerbread Toddy. In cold weather, a hot drink can warm you up faster than a Snuggie® and an electric blanket. This hot toddy will make you feel warm while it makes you think you're eating gingerbread cookies. Yummy.
    • 1 oz. brandy
    • 1 oz. gingerbread liqueur
    • Juice from 1 lemon wedge
    • 8 oz. hot water
    • 1 cinnamon stick
    Pour first four ingredients into a preheated mug in the order listed. Garnish with a cinnamon stick as a stirrer. Makes 1 serving.
Nutritional Information (per serving):
Calories Protein Fiber Carbs Fat Total Saturated Fat
155 < 1 g < 1 g 11 g < 1 g < 1 g
  1. Holiday Hot ChocolateHoliday Hot Chocolate. You can obviously buy no-sugar-added hot chocolate in packages and do this the easy way. But you're no slacker. You can make homemade hot chocolate instead, which makes your house smell amazing and impresses your friends and family.
    • 4 cups evaporated fat-free milk
    • 1 cup fat-free milk
    • 1/2 cup baking chocolate
    • 2 Tbsp. vanilla extract
    • 1/2 cup sugar (or use 1/3 cup agave)
    • 6 oz. Frangelico® liqueur
    • 6 miniature candy canes
    Combine evaporated milk, fat-free milk, chocolate, vanilla, and sugar in medium saucepan and heat on stove over low heat. Remove from heat and stir in Frangelico. Pour into mugs and garnish each with a small candy cane. Makes 6 servings.
Nutritional Information (per serving):
Calories Protein Fiber Carbs Fat Total Saturated Fat
340 16 g 2 g 45 g 6 g 3 g
  1. Peppermint MartiniPeppermint Martini. This is perhaps the simplest and tastiest low-calorie cocktail out there. Just three ingredients and a bit of candy cane. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
    • 9 oz. vanilla vodka
    • 9 oz. peppermint schnapps
    • 3 oz. fat-free condensed milk
    • Ice
    • 6 miniature candy canes
    Place all liquids in a martini shaker with ice. Shake and pour into glasses. Garnish each with a candy cane. Makes 6 servings.
Nutritional Information (per serving; not counting the candy canes):
Calories Protein Fiber Carbs Fat Total Saturated Fat
232 1 g < 1 g 13 g < 1 g < 1 g
  1. Mulled Apple CiderMulled Apple Cider. Nothing makes a house smell more like Christmas than some mulled apple cider—except maybe those overpriced candles constantly being advertised on TV. And this cider tastes better, so take that, Glade®!
    • 8 cups apple cider
    • 1 cinnamon stick
    • 10 whole cloves
    • 1 navel orange, peeled and sliced crosswise
    • 1 2-inch piece of peeled fresh ginger, cut into 6 slices
    • 4 oz. light brandy
    In a large saucepan, combine cider, cinnamon stick, cloves, orange, and ginger and simmer mixture for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and add brandy to pan. Stir, then strain mixture through a fine strainer into a heatproof pitcher. Serve warm. Makes 6 servings.
Nutritional Information (per serving):
Calories Protein Fiber Carbs Fat Total Saturated Fat
202 < 1 g < 1 g 37 g < 1 g < 1 g
  1. Blitzen's BlissBlitzen's Bliss. Given that Blitzen is the final reindeer in the lineup, he probably gets knocked around a fair bit by the sleigh over the course of Santa's travels on Christmas Eve. But once they're done circumnavigating the globe, Blitzen comes home and has a few of these, and it's all good. Not only does he feel better, but since they have just 130 calories apiece, he doesn't feel all bloated for his Christmas dinner the next day.
    • 2 cups pomegranate juice
    • Juice of 2 limes
    • 8 oz. vodka
    • 1 tsp. peppermint extract
    • 12 ice cubes
    • 4 Tbsp. chopped mint leaves
    • 6 miniature candy canes
    Place first four ingredients in shaker with ice. Shake and pour into individual glasses. Sprinkle each with mint and garnish with candy cane. Makes 6 servings.
Nutritional Information (per serving; not counting the candy canes):
Calories Protein Fiber Carbs Fat Total Saturated Fat
130 < 1 g < 1 g 11 g < 1 g < 1 g
  1. SangriaSangria for Santa. Santa really appreciates the cookies and milk. But after hundreds of years, he's over it. Want to be on the "nice" list next year? Get a little naughty. Leave some sangria by the fireplace for Santa.
    • 10 green grapes, halved
    • 4 fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
    • 1 peach, pitted and sliced
    • 1 bottle white or red wine
    • 1-1/2 cups white grape juice
    • 1/2 cup brandy
    • 2 sprigs fresh mint
    Place fruit and wine in a large glass pitcher. Add juice and brandy and stir gently. Add mint and stir gently once more. Chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving. Serve straight or over ice. Makes 6 servings.
Nutritional Information (per serving):
Calories Protein Fiber Carbs Fat Total Saturated Fat
183 1 g 1 g 14 g < 1 g < 1 g

So you'd like to have a "cup of cheer" this holiday season, at least now you can enjoy it without having to wear your baggy Santa outfit for the entire month of January. Happy holidays!

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If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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And if you'd like to know more about Beachbody Director of Results Steve Edwards' views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope, named one of the Top 50 blogs covering the sports industry by the Masters in Sports Administration.

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Your 10-Point Plan for Holiday Diet Success

By Steve Edwards

Woman Wearing Winter Hat and Woman Measuring Her Waist

Good ol' "holiday cheer" doesn't always leave you feeling cheerful, especially when you can't fit into your little black dress or fancy-occasion suit for your upcoming holiday parties, and especially for New Year's Eve. Here's a simple 10-step plan to help you enjoy all your holiday events while you begin planning how to make your coming New Year something to celebrate. Let's start with the big picture, then count down toward a healthy New Year.

  1. Visualize. This first step won't take long. In fact, do it right now, before reading step 9. Close your eyes for a moment and visualize yourself in a place you want to be sometime next year. This is a fantasy, so make it a good one. Imagine looking and feeling a way you've always dreamed of. Now hold on to that vision.
  2. 2012 FireworksTarget an event for next year. Think of something to focus on as a day for looking and/or feeling and/or performing your best. It can be anything from a class reunion to a triathlon to a trip to Cancun. Your goal is to find something to look forward to that will motivate you to improve between now and then.
  3. Plan a training program. Begin by finding a monthly calendar and figure out how much time you have until your event. Next, make a loose training program. You don't have to decide exactly what to do right now. Maybe start with progress you'd like to make each month leading to the event. Then pick an exercise program (or series of programs) that'll help you achieve your goals over that time. Be realistic. It might be difficult for you to focus on exercise and diet during the holidays, so you might want to schedule yourself a bit of flexibility for now. At this point, your aim is to plant a seed in your mind to keep you focused on a bigger goal as you go through the holidays. This little extra bit of motivation will help you keep your holidays from becoming one long binge.
  4. It's better to give than to receive. It's time to get busy. You've planted an image of success in your mind and on paper. Now you've got to get practical. Just how are you supposed to stick with an exercise program when temptation looms around every corner? Start by becoming proactive about this holiday season. Become a giver. Instead of letting the festivities come to you, where you'll have little control over them, plan them yourself. Organize your Thanksgiving dinner, help out with the company Christmas party, or plan your friends' New Year's get-together. If you're the organizer, you have a lot more control over the relative healthiness of the event. You must be reasonable, of course. You won't get the gig again if you turn Thanksgiving dinner into a tofu-and-broccoli Zen-fest, but being in charge allows you to make healthy options available. Plus you'll be busy, which'll leave you less time for indulging.
  5. SaladLearn to cook. The easiest way to eat healthily is to cook food yourself, because that way you know exactly what's in it. There's a wealth of information out there about healthy cooking. Once you start, you might find that it's easier than you ever imagined to cook decadently tasty yet healthy meals.
  6. Plan to snack. Let's face it, over the next month your workplace is going to be filled with temptation. Willpower alone might not be enough. Since the easiest way to avoid these things is to be full, plan to snack throughout your day. Head to the market and fill your cart with healthy snacking options like fruit and raw veggies. Okay, this probably sounds boring, but these foods are loaded with fiber and have very few calories, so they'll fill you up without filling you out. A large apple has about the same number of calories as a tiny square of chocolate. By munching on fruits and veggies all day, you'll keep your stomach full, which will help make you far less likely to dig into the Christmas cookies. And if or when you do choose to indulge a bit, it'll be far, far easier not to overdo it.
  7. Man Drinking WaterDrink water all day long. Another way to ensure that your stomach feels full when workplace temptations present themselves is to drink one glass of water every hour during your workday. This won't just help you resist treats—it'll also keep you hydrated, which will help reduce the effects of that aprés-work holiday "cheer," alcohol.
  8. Rise and shine! Begin each day with a few minutes devoted to yourself. Lie in bed, breathe, visualize, and contemplate your goals. By focusing each morning on something you really want, you'll get out of bed with a better outlook on the day. Then you'll be more apt to make positive choices throughout your day.
  9. How to eat your holiday meals. You're almost certainly going to overeat, but here are a few rules you can follow to stack the odds in favor of your figure:
    • Drink a large glass of water 30 minutes prior to the meal.
    • Begin with a salad. Go light on the dressing, and eat as much as you can. You probably see a pattern but, again, water and fiber are going to fill space in your stomach and make it much harder to overeat.
    • Don't be shy. These meals were meant to be social and the more you talk and listen, the less you'll eat. Have you ever had a meal where you've been so involved in a conversation that you've forgotten to eat? Try making this your goal.
  10. What to do if you blow it. Because at some point, we all do. And you know what? It just doesn't matter. If we were perfect, life would be boring, right? Anyway, one day isn't going to hurt you. What you need to avoid is one day turning into two, then three, and so on. So on those days when you've backslid, try this nighttime ritual that'll have those little gaps in your willpower filled in before you wake up:
    • Have a cup of herbal tea or drink a glass of water before bed. Herbal tea is great. It's both hydrating and calming. If you've been drinking alcohol and fear a hangover, take vitamins and drink some electrolytes (P90X® Results and Recovery Formula® works well). Don't worry about calories at this point. Offsetting the effects of alcohol is more important. The most common effects of a hangover result from dehydration and lack of sleep. You need nutrients and water to fight these off.
    • Stretch. A few minutes of slow and easy stretching will relax you and help you begin the process of recovering from the day's activities. A scant 2 minutes is a million times better than no minutes.
    • Relax and reflect. Lie in bed, focus on relaxed breathing, and take a minute to reflect on yourself and your future—then let it go. Don't think too much. You don't want to get excited, because you might lose your ability to sleep. You just want to center your thoughts and get them away from any negative associations with having "blown it." Tomorrow, as Scarlett O'Hara famously said, is another day.

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If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

Check out our Fitness Advisor's responses to your comments in The Beachbody Mailbag on the Message Boards. If you'd like to receive The Beachbody Mailbag by email, click here to subscribe.

And if you'd like to know more about Beachbody Director of Results Steve Edwards' views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope, named one of the Top 50 blogs covering the sports industry by the Masters in Sports Administration.

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Recipe: Oatmeal Raisin 'n' More Cookies



Oatmeal Raisin 'n' More Cookies
Love oatmeal cookies but hate ingesting all the fat and sugar contained in most classic recipes? Here's a low-fat version sweetened with applesauce and juice—plus it also has the goodness of dried fruit and an added little protein kick from Beachbody's Whey Protein Powder! A great alternative to the more decadent treats of the holiday season.

  • 1-1/4 cups whole-grain flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 scoop (1/3 cup) vanilla-flavored Whey Protein Powder (or other vanilla protein powder)
  • 3/4 cup thawed apple juice concentrate
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup raisins, dried cranberries, dried cherries, and/or dried blueberries
  • Nonstick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350° F. Combine flour, oats, baking soda, and protein powder in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix apple juice concentrate and applesauce. Pour wet mix into dry mix and stir. Fold in raisins. Lightly spray baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray, then drop batter by heaping tablespoonfuls onto baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Makes 2 dozen cookies.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 10 to 15 minutes

Nutritional Information (per 2-cookie serving):

Calories Protein Fiber Carbs Fat Total Saturated Fat
131 3 g 3 g 28 g 2 g < 1 g

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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