5 Non-alcoholic and Low-Sugar Drinks Perfect for Staying Healthy this Holiday Season

A registered dietician shares her favorite healthy holiday beverages: non-alcoholic mocktails that are low in sugar and high in flavor!
friends cheering holiday mocktails

It’s the holiday season again! Which means it’s time to eat, drink, and be merry, right? But can you drink merrily while still being healthy? Yes! It’s not as daunting as one might think.

One of the easiest ways to turn up the healthy-holiday cheer (and turn down the holiday hangover) is to replace alcoholic and sugary cocktails with mocktails. Try these 5 flavorful non-alcoholic drink ideas to fill your cup with cheer, without filling your body with too much sugar or added fat.

Mulled Cider

Mulled cider is a warming favorite. Cut back on the sweetness but diluting 100% apple cider with a bit of water. Try 4oz of cider with 3oz of water. Adjust to your taste. Heat them together with over the stovetop with cinnamon sticks, star anise, orange or lemon peel, and a few cloves. Once simmering, skim out the spices, pour into a mug, and enjoy.

Cranberry “New” Fashioned Mocktail

Sure, cranberries are a health-promoting fruit bursting with antioxidants. But traditional fruity cocktails can pack a punch of calories from mixers and alcohol. This drink is a seasonal nod to the flavors of an old fashioned.

Freeze cranberry juice into ice cubes. Muddle a few cranberries in your glass, fill your glass with sparkling water, add a splash of 100% orange juice, and a splash of spiced herbal tea. Add a couple of the juice ice cubes, and garnish with a few floating cranberries.

Guiltless Hot Chocolate

Hot chocolate is a perfect choice while holiday shopping but coffee shop hot chocolates are loaded with more than sugar than you should have in a day! Make one at home to savor the flavor without all the extra sugar.

Start by warming 8oz of your preferred milk in a saucepan over the stove, add 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, add 1 ½ tablespoons sugar, a pinch of salt, and a dash of vanilla extra. Wisk until combined. Don’t let it boil! You can also add a pinch of cinnamon, a splash of black coffee or ½ teaspoon instant coffee, or a 1/8 teaspoon of peppermint extract for an extra special wintertime riff of on an old favorite.

Herbal Tea Mocktails

There are so many flavorful blends of herbal teas that are perfect for getting you in the holiday mood without giving you any added sugar or calories. Look for ginger, peppermint, hibiscus, green, cranberry, pumpkin spice, and citrus spice tea blends in your local shop.

Note: Always read the ingredient label. The ingredient should list the spices, herbs, flowers, and leaves that were used in the blended tea. Be sure there are no added sweeteners.

Brew tea per the package directions, let cool, and then mix with soda water, ice, a touch of agave nectar, and garnish with mint, cinnamon sticks, or citrus fruits for a refreshing tea mocktail.

Kombucha Mocktails

A fermented beverage with plenty of health-supportive benefits, kombucha is the perfect base for a fizzy, healthy mocktail.

Let the flavor of your kombucha be your guide. You can mix your kombucha with flavored sparkling water, fruit juice, citrus juice, or even elderberry juice for maximum health benefits. Add in whole fruits like berries, herbs like mint or lavender, or slices of citrus. Because kombucha already has sugar in it, you won’t need to add any extra sweeteners.

Cozy up with one of these healthy, non-alcoholic, low-sugar drinks this season and you can stay on track with your health goals while still having a joyous time. Cheers!

Justine Hays, MS, RD, CDN
Hi! I'm Justine Hays, a registered dietitian, and wellness writer. Food, and memories of food, shaped my life early on, so did my drive and desire to help people. After getting a B.S. in business and marketing, I found my heart wasn't totally satisfied by what I was doing. So, I went back to school and earned my Masters in Dietetics and became a registered dietitian. Working with the general public, I see how much information (and misinformation) is out there. It can be overwhelming! Understanding the facts about food, and how foods work in our bodies, helps us let go of myths and fear so we can get back to enjoying food that nourishes our bodies. That's why I believe in letting experts, like dietitians, deliver the straight answers. I can help you understand what works, what doesn't, why, and how you can make choices to live your healthiest and happiest life. I believe in a whole food approach, meaning everything in moderation. As a working mother, I don't want to spend all my time in the kitchen when there are pictures to paint, flowers to pick, and playgrounds to explore. I find ways to prepare most of my foods from scratch with a healthy dose of convenience foods to make it easier. I prep, plan, and produce (mostly) healthy and affordable meals the whole family will eat, with a sweet treat thrown in the mix for balance, and I always look for ways to get the littlest hands involved in the kitchen. For more information about me and what I do, and for ways to communicate health value with your customers, or to work with a registered dietitian for yourself, your practice, product, website, or blog, please visit justinehaysnutrition.com and get in touch!