Warm up with a hot, healthy drink

Hot drinks don’t have to bog you down with calories and fat, or be expensive.

As the temperatures drop below zero, nothing sounds better than a toasty hot drink to warm you inside and out. It is tempting to stop at your favorite coffee house to pick up a tasty flavored latte or a steaming mug of hot cocoa. Unfortunately the calorie count on some of these beverages may be difficult to swallow. There are ways to slim down some of our favorites and save you hundreds of calories while still allowing you to enjoy the warmth and taste of these hot beverages. The following are some calorie and money saving tips from Michigan State University Extension.

Although hot chocolate has a bad rap, it can be slimmed down. Most coffee shops serve hot chocolate made with whole milk and topped with whipped cream, which can add up to as much fat as an order of French fries. If you ask for fat-free milk and skip the whipped topping you can save as much as 120 calories and 14 grams of fat. If you are making your hot chocolate at home, consider using nonfat milk, artificial sweetener and unsweetened cocoa to provide a yummy hot chocolate treat without feeling guilty.

Chai soy Latte can be a healthy hot option but often heavy doses of honey and sugar change this otherwise healthy mix of black tea, spices and soy milk into a calorie laden mug. You can lighten this up by making it at home. Just steep a chai tea bag in hot water and add one teaspoon of honey and two tablespoons of light soy milk. With just 30 calories, this healthy hot beverage can warm you without the calorie punch.

Spiced apple cider, when bought at most cafes often contains cinnamon flavored syrup which adds lots of extra sugar and calories. To slim down this cold weather classic, simmer apple cider with orange zest, cloves and cinnamon sticks in a large pot for five minutes. You can now enjoy this winter favorite at the much lower cost of just 100 calories per cup.

By mixing up your favorite warm winter beverages at home you can save lots of money and calories as well.

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