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Healthier holiday beverages make for a festive celebration

With holiday celebrations, we often think about how food can affect our waistlines, but we may forget that beverages have calories, too. With that in mind, let’s take a look around the grocery store for some healthier, holiday options.

A creamy favorite for many is eggnog. But with the average cup of eggnog being 250 calories, you can easily overindulge. A healthier option and a new favorite is Bolthouse Farms Nog. It has 80 percent less fat and 60 percent fewer calories than regular nog. At only 80 calories per serving, this nog is made up of mostly low-fat milk and some carrot juice. And you wouldn’t believe how delicious it really is. Find it in the produce section.

A spritzy non-alcoholic beverage that all can consume is sparkling cider. There are some delicious favorites including R.W. Knudson flavored sparkling ciders. NuVal scores on the cherry and grape flavors are higher than many regular juices and can be a treat at your next holiday party. Made from 100percent juice.

Everyone loves hot chocolate. But did you know that choosing chocolate wisely could lower your stress during this busy holiday season? The higher the cacao content (represented by the percentage on the package), the more benefits in the chocolate. Dark chocolate and cocoa powder contain the most flavonoids. These are antioxidants that are known to relax blood vessels and reduce blood pressure. There may be some evidence that dark chocolate in moderation may also reduce your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. The percentage you are looking for is at least 60percent on your chocolate packages.

Water is a necessity and generally calorie-free. There are plenty of options available that are brand new to the shelves. Here are a few favorites:

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• Coconut water is refreshing and a good source of potassium which can help with hydration. Only 50 calories for 9.5 ounces. Non-carbonated.

• Omega Water contains fish oil and provides you with 100 mg omega-3 fatty acids per bottle for zero calories. Non-carbonated.

• Sparkling Ice flavored beverages are calorie-free and have some additional vitamins including vitamin D and green tea extract. Carbonated.

• The Metromint line of waters is another calorie-free source of hydration. Various flavors including peppermint, spearmint and lemon mint, allowing for a refreshing sipper at your holiday party.

Non-carbonated.

• Neuro Sun beverages are only 35 calories per bottle and offer 1000 IU of vitamin D. Non-carbonated.

Please see the accompanying recipe that uses the popular Sparkling ICE beverages. It is easy to make and festive and the flavor will please your guests.

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