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winter drinks

Some Like It Hot: Hot Winter Drinks Perfect for Cold Days

February 17, 2015
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I have been compensated for my time by McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, the maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog With Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me.

Americans love drinking hot beverages regardless of the time of year. Coffee is probably the most popular of the hot beverages in the U.S., with tea coming in a close second. No matter if the weather is exceedingly hot or freezing cold, steaming cups of coffee and tea are what fill our personalized mugs, delicate china cups or the cardboard drive-through containers, starting in the wee hours of the morning and continuing throughout the day.

Among hot coffee drinkers you’ll find a multitude of choices: black, black with a sugar substitute, skim milk with a sugar substitute (for those who want to reduce their added sugar and fat intake), lots of cream and sugar-laden flavored syrups, and… well, there’s just too many to mention! With the introduction of free-standing coffee shops and widely-hyped coffee everywhere you go, it’s no wonder people are drinking lots of coffee, every which way imaginable!

For those who long for flavored coffee drinks, choices are many, even in 24 hour gas station “mini-marts.” But it would be hard to ignore one popular flavored coffee trend that makes news every fall. Guess what it’s called? It’s made with pumpkin spice flavoring. Bingo! Here’s a tip though. If you want to save money and make your own at home with less added sugar, give this recipe a try: Pumpkin Pie Spiced Coffee. This do-it-yourself recipe is much more to my liking than the overtly sweet and fat-laden lattes that are served in cardboard cups. Not only does this recipe contain significantly fewer calories than many of its counterparts, it only contains 2 grams of sugar per serving.

Tea, not unlike coffee, has centuries of history of which to boast, but it is no longer considered an outcast or second best. Yes, tea is HOT right now and I am not talking temperature.

With the popularity of tea growing (e.g., freestanding stores that sell only tea and tea-related items), it comes as no surprise that one can find Internet parodies of what defines the personal characteristics of tea and coffee drinkers!

Of course, like coffee, tea is naturally sugar-free, so black tea is a great beverage for those who are watching their sugar intake. And for those who like it sweet, a sugar substitute like SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener can let you make your tea with significantly fewer calories compared to tea with sugar, honey or other full-calorie sweeteners. As with the flavored coffees, I would be remiss in not mentioning that specialty tea drinks, such as spiced or chai teas (in addition to the multitudes of tea flavors that have been available for decades and continue to proliferate) an also be made with a low-calorie sweetener like SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener.

Since spiced and chai teas are now more mainstream than I ever recall them being, perhaps you should try two recipes at home: Hot Spiced Tea and Homemade Chai Tea. Both versions use SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener in place of sugar and both are dee-lish.

But enough about coffee and tea. Both are beloved hot beverages and contrary to what one humorist thinks, those of us who love hot chocolate certainly aren’t “heathens!” Hot chocolate is a category of hot drinks unto itself where there’s an array of delightful choices to satisfy our taste buds. Take good old fashioned hot chocolate for example – it’s one of my very favorite hot winter drinks to prepare and drink on a cold, winter day. My recipe sure is not the same as my grandmother’s however. I prefer a version with less sugar and that's low-fat. I make one of my favorite recipes with SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, cocoa powder, skim milk and a touch of cinnamon. Yum!

Here’s another favorite recipe for a special occasion or even dessert - Winter White Hot Chocolate. It has a rich and decadent flavor and it also uses SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener along with rather unique ingredients.

For those who like a bit of zest and want to taste a bit of the Latin origins of hot chocolate, come with me!...“Take a sip of Mexican hot chocolate and step back in time. The semi-bitter cinnamon flavored chocolate drink made from cocoa, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper, traces its history to the Maya and Aztecs.” Sound good? Well here’s an exceptional hot winter drink recipe for you that combines the key elements of original Mexican hot chocolate but is lower in added sugar. Check it out here.

And for those of you who don’t like or cannot eat chocolate, here’s a simple hot drink recipe to try. “White Hot Vanilla” made with only three ingredients. It will warm you up when the weather is not playing fair, if you know what I mean.

Regardless of your passion when it comes to hot winter drinks, the choice is up to you. The options are now endless, so be sure to KEEP CALM and USE SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener in your coffee and tea and other hot drinks. You will be glad you did!

Sue Taylor is a consulting nutritionist with more than 35 years of experience. She is passionate about sharing her nutrition knowledge and fondness for good, healthy food. Sue will put relevant information in consumer terms and provide valuable perspective to clear up misinformation and confusion about nutrition and food safety.

For tips on baking and cooking with SPLENDA® Sweetener Products, visit the Cooking & Baking section of this blog.

February 17, 2015  |  POSTED BY: Sue Taylor, MS  |  IN: Cooking & Baking

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