DIY Low Sugar Swaps for Your Favorite Winter Drinks

snickerdoodle hot cocoa with snickerdoodle protein cookie
Written by Jen Scheinman, MS, RDN

The holiday season is in full swing. With the hustle and bustle of this time of year, enjoying a warm seasonal drink can be just what you need to get you in the spirit of things and excited about the celebrations to come. From classic peppermint flavors to warming spices like ginger and cinnamon, coffee shops are creating an abundance of decadent beverages, but the calorie and sugar content of these drinks can quickly add up. During this time of year, when sugary treats abound, a coffee shop drink may not be where you want your extra indulgences to come from, so I’ve created some healthier versions of your favorite holiday drinks to keep you in the healthy holiday spirit! A few sips, and you’ll feel like you’ve been whisked away to a winter wonderland.

Peppermint Mocha
Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks both have their own version of this wintertime classic, but both come with quite a bit of calories and added sugar. Dunkin Donuts’ version has 420 calories and a whopping 56 grams of sugar and Starbucks is right in the same ballpark with 440 calories and 63 grams of sugar.

DIY Peppermint Mocha
You can significantly cut the calories and sugar content by using unsweetened non-dairy milk and substituting the peppermint syrup with stevia or allulose for sweetness. My version only has about 35 calories and 4 grams of carbs. If you’d like to top it with a little non-dairy whipped cream that will only add about 10 calories and 2 grams of carbs!

Pair this with Munk Pack’s Almond Butter Cocoa Chip Keto Granola Bar for the ultimate afternoon snack. 

Ingredients:

    • ⅔ cup unsweetened non-dairy milk of your choice (barista blends will froth better)
    • ⅔ cup brewed coffee 
    • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
    • ⅛ tsp peppermint extract
    • A few drops of liquid stevia to taste 
    • Non-dairy whipped cream (optional)

Directions 

    1. Warm the non-dairy milk either in a microwave or on the stovetop
    2. Using a milk frother, froth the milk until foamy 
    3. Add the cacao, peppermint extract, and stevia to the coffee, stirring well
    4. Pour the milk and foam over the coffee
    5. Top with non-dairy whipped cream
    6. If you don’t have a milk frother, you can pour all the ingredients into a blender and blend till foamy. 

Snickerdoodle Hot Cocoa
By far my favorite après ski drink, hot cocoa is best enjoyed curled up around a warm fireplace. Add the cinnamon-y goodness of a snickerdoodle cookie, and I’m in heaven. Starbucks’ take on this drink has 420 calories and 53 grams of sugar.

DIY Snickerdoodle Hot Cocoa
My version of this treat cuts down quite a bit on calories and sugar. It uses white chocolate powder, which adds some sugar and calories, but can be omitted if you’d like to keep this low carb. The total nutritional breakdown is 90 calories and 13 grams of carbs with the white chocolate. Much lower than the original but still just as tasty! Of course, this pairs perfectly with Munk Pack’s Snickerdoodle Protein Cookie.

Ingredients

    • 1 cup  unsweetened non-dairy milk of your choice 
    • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1 tbsp white chocolate powder
    • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
    • Liquid stevia or allulose to taste

Directions:

    1. In a small saucepan, whisk together the non-dairy milk, cocoa powder, white chocolate powder, and cinnamon.
    2. When it reaches the desired temperature, add a few drops of stevia.

Gingerbread Latte
Gingerbread is a staple at holiday time — from cute little gingerbread men to elegantly decorated gingerbread houses. The warm spices like clove, ginger, and nutmeg come together for a delicious taste sensation. Starbucks uses these seasonal flavors to create their gingerbread latte with 330 calories and 38 grams of sugar. 

DIY Gingerbread Latte
You can still enjoy this nostalgic beverage without all the added sugar in a coffee shop drink. This recipe does call for molasses to help give the flavor of gingerbread, but if you are watching your carb intake you can skip it. In that case, you may want to use some stevia drops for a bit of sweetness. My version has only 40 calories and 4 grams of carbs.

I love this drink on a cold winter afternoon while snacking on a Munk Pack’s Caramel Sea Salt Keto Nut & Seed Bar. It’s just the thing to put me in the holiday spirit.

Ingredients:

    • 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk of your choice (barista blends will froth better)
    • 1 shot of espresso (can use coffee if you don’t have espresso)
    • ¼ tsp cinnamon
    • ⅛ tsp ground ginger
    • Sprinkle of nutmeg
    • ½ tsp of molasses (optional)

Directions:

    1. In a small saucepan, whisk together ¾ of a cup of non-dairy milk, espresso, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and molasses.
    2. Using a milk frother froth the remaining ¼ cup of non-dairy milk until foamy
    3. Pour the milk with the spices into a mug and pour the foamy milk on top.

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