Coffee + Tea

Published on December 10th, 2011 | by Chris Keenan


Top 10 Unhealthiest Holiday Drinks (and some tasty alternatives!)

unhealthy holiday drink

Oh no, here come the holidays! Don’t get the wrong idea, the holidays are great. The joy of stringing lights through the trees in the front yard is memorable, and the endless supply of food and drink is overwhelming.

In the name of health, maybe you decide to skip those gingerbread cookies and go for some holiday beverages instead. Sadly, those holiday drinks, especially the ones you grab on the go, are often just as unhealthy. Not only are these drinks bad for your waistline, but they’re full of genetically modified ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, and you can bet that most of these big chains don’t source their milk from organic or sustainable farms.

This is the world of calorie-laden beverages, and here are a few that should be on top of the naughty list.

1. 20-Ounce White Hot Chocolate (Starbucks)

Yummy (and unhealthy) hot chocolate drink made with steamed milk, white chocolate, and a whipped cream topping.

  • Calories: 640
  • Total Fat: 28 grams
  • Sodium: 340 milligrams
  • Sugars: 78 grams

2. 14.5-Ounce Peppermint Hot Chocolate (Panera Bread)

The worst part of this drink? It contains not one, but two chocolate syrup types: mocha mint syrup and white chocolate syrup.

  • Calories: 610
  • Total Fat: 17 grams
  • Saturated Fat: 11 grams
  • Sugars: 83 grams

3. 20-Ounce Eggnog Latte (Starbucks)

This is an espresso made with milk and steamed eggnog and has ground nutmeg on top.

  • Calories: 630
  • Total Fat: 29 grams
  • Cholesterol: 185 milligrams
  • Sodium: 300 milligrams

4. 22-Ounce Frappe Caramel (McDonald’s)

Tasty caramel with a dash of coffee mixed with ice and topped by rich caramel drizzle and whipped cream.

  • Calories: 680
  • Saturated Fat: 18 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 94 grams
  • Sodium: 200 milligrams

5. 24-Ounce Gingerbread Cookie Ice Blended Drink (The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf):

What could be better than the nutmeg and cinnamon flavors of gingerbread cookies with a touch of espresso? Not much, but drink at your own risk!

  • Calories: 710
  • Saturated Fat: 12 grams
  • Sugars: 118 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 136 grams

6. 20-Ounce Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha (Starbucks)

Espresso with steamed milk and peppermint and white chocolate flavored syrups. Top it off with dark chocolate and extra-sweet whipped cream for a calorie-rich delight.

  • Calories: 700
  • Total Fat: 26 grams
  • Sodium: 290 milligrams
  • Sugars: 94 grams

7. 20-Ounce Ho Ho Mint White Chocolate (Caribou Coffee)

Chocolate and spice—what a combination!

  • Calories: 790
  • Saturated Fat: 27 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 92 grams
  • Sugars: 93 grams

8. 20-Ounce Spicy Milk Chocolate Mocha (Caribou Coffee)

Similar to the previous choice, and just as unhealthy.

  • Calories: 880
  • Saturated Fat: 26 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 95 grams
  • Sugars: 72 grams

9. 14-Ounce Peppermint Chocolate Milkshake (Chik-fil-A)

A creamy hand-spun milkshake topped with a cherry and whipped cream. Available in many other flavors, all of which are equally calorie-laden.

  • Calories: 930
  • Saturated Fat: 20 grams
  • Cholesterol: 95 milligrams
  • Sugars: 127 grams

10. 20-Ounce Holiday Spiced Sugar Cookie Blast (Sonic)

Is this a holiday delight or a heart attack waiting to happen? Check out the numbers on this one!

  • Calories: 1,256
  • Total Fat: 58 grams
  • Saturated Fat: 40 grams
  • Sugars: 142 grams

Luckily, you don’t have to head to a chain store for a sugary, unhealthy holiday drink. It’s easy as pie to whip up your own at home, where you can control your portion size and how much sugar and fat you’re using. Here are a few holiday drink recipes to get you started:

I bet you guys whip up some delicious holiday drinks, too! What’s your favorite festive libation?

 Unhealthy Drink photo via Shutterstock

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About the Author

is a green and general blog writer. He also maintains a personal cooking blog. Find Chris on Google

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