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From tips on how to lose weight effectively to ways to combat boredom eating, this collection of informative articles covers a wide range of health topics that matter to real people, like you.

Seasonal Drinking: Calories in Your Holiday Drinks

Oh, the festive holiday advertising... Always some big, jovial gathering of happy people and a resplendent spread of mouthwatering food. And, of course, the tinking of wine glasses, pouring of hearty beers, or relishing on smooth cocktails in front of the warm fire. Seems ideal, right? That is how it appears, anyways... But what the glossy advertisement does not reflect are the potential downsides of seasonal drinking.

Seasonal Drinking: Calories in Your Holiday Drinks

The Effects of Seasonal Drinks and Alcohol

Generally speaking, we all know even the most conscientious dieters tend to relax their usual standards to make room for some holiday indulgences. But we do not need a big holiday to let our health guard down, as researchers tracking eating patterns have patterned Americans significantly increase their caloric intake throughout weekends compared to weekdays. And most of the calories are coming from alcohol, though people may be absentminded and disregard alcohol as a calorie source. There is a pretty good chance those extra weekend beers, or that cup of holiday grog will not get factored into the overall calorie count, or compensated for by cuts elsewhere. The other issue for diet is really the main problem with drinking alcohol in general: Lowered inhibitions. The same effect that makes one drink lead to another, can also make one drink to lead to a second serving of thick, cheesy au gratin potatoes or another slice of double chocolate sin cake. What you also acquired? A second serving of added calories, even hundreds to thousands of them depending on the food selection and just how much you decided to eat. But just how many calories are these drinks pouring out? Here is a subtle wakeup call...

Seasonal Drinks Calories

We'll start out the calorie count with one of the most relished drinks, even beyond the holiday season. When it comes to calories in beer, there are many factors that come into play, including the disparities between light and dark beers. In fact, some craft beers can carry up to 300 calories per bottle! But as a general frame of reference, 12 ounces of light or regular beers and 8 to 9 ounces of malt beer supply about 150 calories.

But not everyone is fond of the taste of beer... For all those winos, a glass of wine (a 5-ounce pour, not the entire bottle...) contains approximately 125 calories.

Mulled Wine
Mulled wine is essentially red wine doctored with apple cider, honey, and spices. While the ingredients appear to be natural, both apple cider and honey contribute to a higher sugar loaf. The end product of mulled wine can supply approximately 200 calories per 4-ounce glass.

A 4-ounce serving of champagne contains about 90 calories, making this celebratory drink one to cheers to and with!

Do not let the addition of nutritious fruits fool you... Some sangrias are prepared with soda and added sugars which can lead to over 200 calories per 5-ounce serving.

Warm Apple Pie
Oh the flavors of apple pie compiled into one sippable cocktail... Unfortunately, the sugar content is high on the apple tree, as the ingredients include apple juice concentrate, white sugar, and brown sugar which cakes on hundreds of calories.

A cosmopolitan (informally known as a cosmo) is a frothy, bright pink martini prepared with vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice, and lime juice. Per 4-ounce serving, a cosmo supplies an approximate 210 calories.

Hot Buttered Rum
Butter, brown sugar, heavy cream, powdered sugar, and rum mix together to produce one rich drink... And potentially hundreds of calories.

Hot Toddy
Sipped to fight a cold or warm up during the cooler months, a hot toddy is prepared with a spirit (typically whiskey or rum), water, honey, herbs and spices and, as the name suggests, served hot. Caloric value can fluctuate depending on how much honey is used, though typically lies between 100 to 150 calories per serving.

Holiday Party Punch
Adding more than a flavor punch, that notorious bowl is often filled with sugar from soda, which may contribute to hundreds of calories.

Like its consistency, eggnog calories pack on thick... And with the use of heavy cream and sugar, it is not so surprising an 8-ounce serving supplies 210 calories. Healthify that favorite seasonal drink with bistroMD's variation, containing 87 calories for the same serving!

Hot Chocolate
Though hot chocolate is a winter staple and desired treat, they may be loaded with calories from sugar and fat. But to limit the risk of a sipping on a whopping 400 calories at Starbucks, try making one of these eight healthy hot cocoa recipes.

Mentioning calories and nutritional content is by no means discouraging you to ditch your favorite seasonal drinks, but rather an opportunity to encourage the importance of moderation. Yes, eggnog can be enjoyed, but yes, it can also pack on calories and pounds if sipped on regularly on multiple occasions. And for a healthier and safer holiday season, men are recommended to consume no more than two alcoholic drinks per day while women are limited to one. Safe drinking and happy holidays!

Sydney Lappe's Photo
Written By Sydney Lappe, MS, RDN. Published on November 07, 2012. Updated on April 19, 2019.


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