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Healthy Holiday Drinks

By KERI GLASSMAN

In the summer it is so simple to load up your water bottle and drain it effortlessly. The winter is much less friendly - all we want to do is wrap our mitts around a mug of something steaming, sweet and richly fragrant. When the chill is in your bones, the only way to get warm sometimes is from the inside out. Water loses its appeal and making the healthful choice is so much less immediately rewarding than something warm and yummy underneath a thiree-inch layer of whipped cream. I get it, and I'm here to help.

Have you been starting your day with your usual coffee with cream, having an afternoon hot cocoa with your snack at 3 o'clock and finishing your dinner meal with a caramel latte? Hmmmm, you haven't even had any alcohol and you may be tipping the liquid calorie intake into the thousand calorie range! Try it my way. I promise you won't feel even the tiniest bit deprived and the satisfaction you'll feel from your healthy beverage choices will give your cheeks a rosy glow.

I know it sounds simple, but there are reasons for my recommendation: start your day with an espresso. Here's why: espresso is intended to be small and satisfying. It is meant to train the drinker to be slow, deliberate and in the moment. What better way to start your day, than being mindful with your delicious (and very European feeling) indulgence. Also, the little cups are adorable, remind you to think about portions for the rest of the day, and look so cute wrapped inside your hands.

  • To make your espresso feel like a holiday, sprinkle cinnamon, nutmeg, a candy cane or a little rock candy. Heck, you can even turn it into a mochaccino with a litte 20 calorie spoonful of real chocolate syrup!
  • If you just need the creaminess and a larger cup, turn your espresso into a cappuccino. Use skim milk or soy milk (they make better foam than fattier milks!) - combine 1 shot of espresso with ..." cup steamed milk and ..." cup foam. Good morning wintertime!

Most of us crash a little between 1-3 p.m. in the afternoon because the caffeine from the morning has worn off and our natural clocks are looking for a siesta. It is a dangerous time for many of us, and we're tempted to reach for something sweet . . . or crunchy . . . or another cup of caffeine! Here is where I usually try to plug in a cup of tea. You can control the amount of caffeine in your tea in several ways: don't let the bag steep too long and drink your tea weak, dunk your tea bag for 30 seconds and then discard the tea and brew again (most of the caffeine is removed in the first dunk of the bag) or buy herbal teas that are caffeine free. Here are my afternoon tea tips:

  • Use some of the delicious tea flavors out there to tackle your sweet tooth. There are a ridiculous amount to choose from, such as caramel, chocolate, peppermint, dulce de leche and more. My personal fav these days is Mayan Cocoa Spice with a little grind of cinnamon sugar on top.
  • Go spicy and fruity! Choose lemon, which is great at detoxing the liver, ginger which is an amazing pain reliever and digestive aid and green tea - a natural antioxidant. Think of how much better you'll feel five minutes after a powerhouse cup of tea then you would after the hot cocoa which only brings on the blood sugar crash. Yes, you can infuse your tea with some honey or sugar in small amounts. The few calories you contribute to your tea with a natural sweetener is nothing compared with the drinkable desserts we find at cafes these days.
  • I just want to add that if you are having tea at tea time, a little snack might be a great idea to go with your tea. I'm thinking of 10 almonds, a teaspoon of coconut and 2 chopped dried apricots. If that doesn't do it for you, consider a 4 oz serving of warm apple sauce sprinkled with cinnamon and 8 walnuts. Go teatime!

Finally, after dinner brew your own tea toddy. You'll get the relaxation and antioxidant benefits of the hot tea, combined with the cardiac benefits of the alcohol. Remember to end the day mindfully, too. This drink is just perfect under a warm blanket, snuggled up next to someone you love with a good book or holiday music.

How to make a Tea Toddy:

  • -1 black tea bag (buy decaf or see above for caffeine tips!)
  • -1 cup boiling water
  • -1/2 tbsp honey
  • -¼ lemon squeezed
  • -1 oz brandy, whiskey or rum

Directions: Brew the tea bag with the boiling water. Add honey, lemon, and liquor and let cool to drinkable temperature. Serves 1

Stay warm, my friends. Spring is just around the corner and we will get you there by heating you up from the inside out — without adding extra layers under your skin!

-Keri

Keri is a contributing editor and advisory board member for Women's Health Magazine, and is the Nutrition and Health contributor for NBC's New York Live. She is regularly featured on national television programs including NBC's The Today Show, ABC's Good Morning America, Access Hollywood Live, The View, The Talk, The Chew, Dr. Oz, The Doctors, The Rachael Ray Show, The Steve Harvey Show, MSNBC, The Fox News Channel, and CNN. Keri hosts an original series called "A Little Bit Better" which is featured on Youtube's LIVESTRONG Woman channel.

Keri resides in New York City with her children, Rex and Maizy. Whether she is training for a marathon, going to the farmers' market, or drinking her nightly cup of herbal tea, Keri lives and breathes a Nutritious Life while inspiring others to do the same.

See Keri on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and Pinterest!

>> Read more of Keri Glassman's articles here! <<

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