Guilt-Free, Soul-Warming Drinks for Winter
The chill of winter is here for most of North America, and nothing says cold weather like the rich scents of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger. With winter scenery everywhere you look, it can be difficult to fight the urge to snuggle up with a delicious—but calorie-dense—latte or hot cider. If you love hot bevvies but want to stay on track with your weight loss or maintenance goals, here are some perfect options to try.
1. Chai Tea with Almond Milk
Chai is characterized by its rich spices and complex flavors, so it’s perfect for cooler weather. To keep your Chai waistline friendly, make the tea from a tea bag and steep for a few minutes. Add 1 ounce (30 ml) of unsweetened almond or low-fat milk and stir in some of your favorite sugarless sweetener to create the full effect for a fraction of the calories.
Pro Tip: Avoid ordering Chai at cafés or coffee shops unless you actually see Chai tea bags—they tend to serve the pre-made, sugar-loaded version.
2. London Fog
Start by brewing a strong cup of Earl Grey tea and add a pinch of dried lavender. While the tea steeps, steam about half a cup of your favorite unsweetened milk (unsweetened almond milk works perfectly for a no-carb option) either by heating and stirring in a pan over the stove, or warming in the microwave. Strain the tea into your mug, pour in the steamed milk, add a couple drops of vanilla extract, and sweeten lightly. London Fog smells like a hug and warms even the coldest day!
3. Anti-Inflammatory Spicy Apple Cider Vinegar Goodness
Start with 1-4 teaspoons of unfiltered apple cider vinegar in your mug, add lemon juice to your preference, and tap in a dash each of: ginger (fresh grated or dried ground), ground turmeric, and cayenne pepper (use a light hand with the cayenne!). Fill the rest of your mug with hot water and add a tiny bit of sweetener to taste. Not only is this hot drink free of calories, but all three spices have natural anti-inflammatory properties. Caveat: This drink is not for everyone! If you don’t like vinegar, try making it with only the spices but more lemon juice.
4. Mexican Hot Chocolate or Chai Tea
If you have cocoa powder or vanilla extract on hand, the possibilities are endless!
For either drink: Start by adding about 115 ml of cool water to a mixer bottle and top the other half with 115 ml of your favorite unsweetened milk (if you’re in Phase 1 of Ideal Protein, use only water).
Hot Chocolate: Add 1 tbsp. cocoa powder to the water & milk mixture, along with a dash of cinnamon, a smidge of chili powder, and a couple drops of vanilla extract. Shake to blend. Pour the cold drink into either a saucepan to heat slowly over the stove (stir often!), or into your mug. If you’re going to heat this up in the microwave, heat it slowly, in 30-45 second intervals, stirring between—this keeps the liquid from bubbling up over the edge and making a mess.
Chai Tea: Add a couple drops of vanilla extract to the water & milk mixture, along with a dash of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Shake to blend. Brew a strong cup of Chai tea (again, from tea leaves or a bag) and stir in the liquid mixture to taste. If you like a really creamy, rich cup of Chai, warm the liquid mix either on the stove or slowly in the microwave.
5. Skinny PSL (Pumpkin Spice Latte)
For those looking to bring a little bit of autumn into winter, a PSL is a great way to relive the excitement of Thanksgiving, the changing colors, and the ‘seasonally synonymous’ PSL.
Save yourself the money and the empty calories of this new fall classic by making this version at home. Brew coffee however you normally brew it. Steam or warm your favorite unsweetened milk and stir in: a few drops of vanilla, and a healthy pinch (about ¼ teaspoon or to taste) of pumpkin pie spice. Add the spiced milk to your coffee, along with a smidge of sweetener, and enjoy!