Drinking Those Holiday Calories

By Mary Lee Chin, MS, RD
Drinking Those Holiday Calories
It’s not only the fruitcake and fudge. Those holiday drinks can pack on the calories too. A glass of wine may contribute more to your waistline than the Christmas cookies with the same number of calories.
November 16, 2011

Popular seasonal drinks translated into candy cane equivalents

It’s not only the fruitcake and fudge. Those holiday drinks can pack on the calories too. A glass of wine may contribute more to your waistline than the Christmas cookies with the same number of calories.

Research shows that people who drink alcohol or other beverages did not later compensate for those extra calories by eating less of other foods. These fluid calories don't give people as strong a feeling of satiety or fullness as solid food. Beverages are not solely to blame, but evidence indicates caloric drinks are contributing to excess calorie consumption in this country.

And when you take a look at all the calories in traditional holiday beverages, those calories can really add up around your waistline. So what is the damage? Here are popular holiday beverages translated into candy cane equivalents - and the numbers can surprise you. These calories are based on regular serving sizes but generous hosts pouring with a heavy hand can easily double or triple the calories.

Simple ways to cut beverage calories:

Alternate alcoholic drinks with a glass of sparkling water or diet ginger ale spiked with a slice of lemon and a refreshing sprig of mint.

Remember the higher the proof of alcohol, the greater the calories.

Special holiday gourmet teas and coffee drinks can deliver substantial amounts of calories and fat. If you really must have one, remember it is the season to share, so split an order with a friend…or two.

Use an alternative sweetener such as aspartame to sweeten your after dinner coffee.

Drinks translated into small candy canes equivalents (.5 oz. size candy cane equals ~60 calories)

  • Cider: 120 calories. 2 candy canes
  • Cup of eggnog: 343 calories. 5 3/4 candy canes
  • One mixed drink: 250 calories. 4 1/10 candy canes
  • Hot buttered rum or Irish coffee: 218 calories. 3 1/2 candy canes
  • One glass of wine: 120 calories. 2 candy canes
  • One bottle of beer: 4 1/2 candy canes.

And once you finish the alcohol, if you need a cup of coffee.

  • A cup of coffee with cream and sugar: 50 calories. Slightly less than 1 candy cane


Mary Lee Chin, MS, RD is a registered dietitian in private practice at Nutrition Edge Communications, Denver, CO. She provides expert counsel to the Aspartame Resource Center.


Drinking Those Holiday Calories

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