Holiday Temptations. Tips, tricks, and some recipes.

If you are anything like me, the holidays are a time where we spend time with family and friends. It is also a time where holiday parties happen, which means drinks, hors d’oeuvres, and food. Add all of that together and you can accumulate some unwanted calories, a thicker waist line, and that feeling of guilt because you worked so hard to see it disappear. But guess what…there are ways to enjoy all of that and maintain your hard work. I mean it is the time to be joyful and enjoy this fun time.

So you are attending your company’s party, or perhaps you are venturing over to a friends holiday get together, either way this is sure to be heartier food and delicious drinks.

So what is a hungry/thirsty supposed to do?


  1. Plan ahead: If you know that your attending a party later in the week, try to stay as healthy as you can leading up too it. It is ok to splurge now and again, but if you do it everyday leading up to the event, it defeats the purpose.
  2. Exercise: Yes, I said exercise. If you know you are going to a party, try to get a workout in before. Working out before you go out can help suppress some cravings. I don’t like to use this word, but knowing you pushed yourself can “justify” some of these poor choices, just don’t make it a habit.
  3. Eat before you go: Most of these parties have food and you may not know what they are serving. Instead of going to a party hungry and blind, eat something healthy at home. When you have a full stomach you will be less inclined to eat.
  4. Avoid the food table: Lots of conversations happen around the food table. When we are engaged in conversation (and perhaps a little hungry) we will non-consciously eat and talk. Before we know it you have had a lot to eat through snacking and just in case you didn’t know….that’s bad!
  5. Minty freshness: Are you hungry right after brushing your teeth? If you are, then this doesn’t apply. However, when I brush my teeth the last thing I want to do is eat. I am enjoying that fresh breathe. Mints and gum can also help keep your hunger at bay.
  6. Discipline: Simply put, stay strong, don’t cheat…be happy. It never taste as good as skinny feels.


So now that you have gotten some tips on how to avoid some bad choices, how about we talk drinks…yes, those drink of the alcoholic persuasion. We all have our favorites, but believe it or not there are some pretty awesome drinks under 200 calories, and they taste fabulous. Below are some of my favorite drinks for this time of year. Some come from friends while others come from some great websites.


Lemon Drop Liqueur


This one takes some prep time, but it is definitely worth it.

Calories: 170

Ingredients: 20 servings

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 5 lemon rinds cut into strips
  • 3 cups vodka (the good stuff)
  • ¼ cup lemon juice


Combine sugar and water in a medium saucepan; cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until sugar dissolves, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in rind. Cool completely. Stir in vodka and lemon juice.

Sterilize 2 wide-mouthed, 1-quart jars according to manufacturer’s directions. Divide vodka mixture between jars. Cover each jar with metal lid; screw on band. Store in a cool, dark place for 3 weeks, shaking jar every other day.

Line a fine-mesh sieve with a double layer of cheesecloth; strain mixture through cheesecloth into a bowl. Discard solids. Return liqueur to jars or clean decanter; store chilled in refrigerator or freezer.

Photo by Randy Mayor



Passion Fruit Mimosa


Calories: 147

Ingredients: 6 servings

  • 1 ½ teaspoons grenadine
  • 1 ½ cups chilled passion fruit juice
  • 1 bottle chilled presecco (750 ml)
  • Orange slices for garnish (if you want to be fancy)


Spoon 1/4 teaspoon grenadine into each of 6 flutes; top with 1/4 cup passion fruit juice, then fill with prosecco. Garnish, if desired.

Pic by Yunhee Kim



Hot Cocoa Eggnog



Calories: 86

Ingredients: 30 servings

  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 cups eggnog, divided
  • 1 pint rum
  • 1 pint brandy
  • Garnish with grated bittersweet chocolate


Whisk together cocoa powder and 1/3 cup eggnog until smooth. In a pitcher, whisk cocoa mixture into remaining eggnog. Add rum and brandy. Pour 4 ounces into small glasses; top with grated bittersweet chocolate.

Photo by Sang An



Peppermint Cosmo


Calories: unknown, but the taste is worth it.

Ingredients: 8 servings

  • 1 cup pomegranate juice
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 4 ounces of vodka
  • ¼ teaspoon of peppermint extract
  • Ice cubes (8)
  • Mini candy canes (8)
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped, fresh mint


Combine juice, vodka, peppermint and ½ cup of water in a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and straining into 8 shot glasses. Garnish with candy canes and mint.

Photo by Nicole Ziegler



Hot Toddy


*A favorite as the temperature drops*

Calories: around 150.


  • 1/4 cup water
  • Slice of fresh ginger
  • 1 shot of bourbon
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 1 start anise
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1 slice of lemon for garnish


Boil the water with the fresh ginger added in. Line up four serving mugs and fill each with 1 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1/2 cinnamon stick, 1 star anise and 2 cardamom pods.

Pour 1/4 cup of boiling water into each mug. Add 1 oz of Bourbon into each mug and stir (at this point, I usually take out all the spices except the star anise) Serve hot garnished with a lemon slice.

Photo by Puja Thomas-Patel



Frothy Hot Chocolate


Calories: 150

Ingredients: 6 servings

  • 4 ½ cups low fat milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup coffee liqueur (Kahlua is my favorite)
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon


Whisk together 1/2 cup milk, sugar, coffee liqueur (if using), cocoa, vanilla and cinnamon in a small bowl until a smooth paste forms. Heat the remaining 4 cups milk in a medium saucepan until steaming. Remove from heat and whisk vigorously. Whisk the cocoa mixture into the milk and pour into mugs.


Photo by



Kahlua Cocoa

Calories: 192

Ingredients: 1 serving

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon Kahlua (or cognac)
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¾ cup 1% milk


Place brown sugar, cocoa powder, Kahlua (or cognac), vanilla extract and cinnamon in a blender. Heat milk in a saucepan until steaming. Add the hot milk to the blender and blend until frothy.



Crown Royal Eggnog (Maple or Vanilla)

*My favorite*

Calories: 110



Mix the 1-ounce whiskey with the ¾ cups eggnog. Stir and enjoy!


Top 5:  Exercises and how many calories they burn. Is it really worth it?

  1. Squat per minute: Take your weight and multiply it by .096. Take that number and that’s how many calories you burn in a minute.
  2. Crunches per minute: burned 4.09 calories per minute (437 calories per hour)
  3. Lunges: burned 9.33 calories per minute (560 calories per hour)
  4. Pull-ups: burned 9.95 calories per minute (597 calories per hour)
  5. Burpee Calorie Calculator: 1 calorie per rep






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