The Veggie Table: Festive Holiday Beverage Comparison

by in Healthy Holidays, The Veggie Table, December 21, 2012

hot cocoa
‘Tis the season for festive holiday drinks like eggnog and hot cocoa. But if you’re avoiding dairy, whether for dietary, ethical, or food allergy reasons, you don’t need to feel left out this holiday season. Each year a new crop of festive holiday “milk” beverages pops up on grocery store shelves with sweet selections like nog, chocolate mint and pumpkin spice. Keep in mind that while festive beverages are delicious, they’re not necessarily nutritious. All three beverages contain added sugar, making them refreshing to sip on for an occasional dessert, or a flavorful ingredient to use in baked goods. I rounded up three different drinks to try this holiday season:

Rice Dream Rice Nog: While typical eggnog has a rich, thick consistency, this Rice Nog was quite thin. Rice milk has the watery consistency of skim milk, so if you’re looking for a creamy nog substitute, this isn’t it. The flavor is sweet and slightly spiced, so I enjoyed it most to sweeten my morning mug of pumpkin spice tea in place of my usual almond milk. Half a cup delivers 80 calories, 1g of fat and 11g of sugar which is a drastic reduction compared to traditional nog’s 180 calories, 9g of fat and 21g of sugar.

So Delicious Coconut Milk Nog: I was so excited to spot So Delicious Coconut Milk Nog at my local Whole Foods for the first time this year. I love the creamy consistency of coconut milk, and had high hopes that this beverage would most closely resemble traditional egg nog. I was right! If you had put a blindfold on me, I might not have even known I was drinking a coconut milk-based beverage. It was so rich and sweet I could only handle a few sips, but found creative ways to use it in recipes, like this Egg Nog French Toast and a refreshing smoothie I made using a banana, ice and ½ cup of Coconut Milk Nog.

Silk Mint Chocolate:  I have been craving hot chocolate ever since there was a chill in the air and couldn’t wait to heat up the Silk Mint Chocolate drink for a hot cup of cocoa. This soy-based beverage tastes great chilled or warmed and I love the distinct taste of mint. If you really want to make this beverage festive, whip up a batch of (easy!) homemade vegan whipped cream and scoop a dollop on top.

TELL US: What’s your favorite holiday beverage?

Janel Funk, MS RD LDN, loves experimenting with vegetarian and vegan cooking. Read her food blog, Eat Well with Janel, and follow her on Twitter @DietitianJanel.  Catch up on her previous posts here.

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