Five warm and super-low-calorie drinks you must try out this winter
If you want super-low calories, you’ll have to brew it yourself and that’s not a difficult thing to do with these recommendations.
It’s so chilly outside that all you want is to curl up indoors with a hot drink warming your hands - a true winter tradition if you will. So what’s stopping you from drinking some marshmallow- and whipped cream-topped hot chocolate or a large cup of masala chai right now? One possible reason could be the calorie count, of course.
You might want to feel warm and enjoy a hot drink this winter but without the guilt of giving up on your diet or adding to your waistline. The way out of this dilemma is to drink something low in calories and yet makes you feel warm and fuzzy.
Here are two rules to begin with if you can’t compromise on calories.
First, you cannot expect a cafe to whip up a super low-calorie drink, even if they do promise to do so. The reason? Hidden calories in sugars, syrups, spice mixes and blends. If you want super-low calories, you’ll have to brew it yourself and that’s not a difficult thing to do with the recommendations below.
Second, elaborate drinks with add-ons are both difficult to make and increase the calorie count inevitably. Less is definitely more in this regard, especially since there are ways to maximise flavour without doing the same with the calories.
So, here are five warm drinks that you can try this winter without adding extra calories to your diet:
Coffee is so low in calories (just about 5 cal and no fat in a simply brewed cuppa) that you can easily depend on it without adding to your weight. The polyphenols (a micronutrient) in coffee have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that you need, and a little bit of caffeine also has its benefits. Make sure not to add sugar or milk to your coffee, and if you need your coffee to be sweet, then go with half a teaspoon of jaggery powder, which will add approximately 9.5 cal to your drink but will make it taste earthier too.
If you want to lose weight and drink something warm then you’ll have to forget turmeric lattes. Instead, you can just boil water and half a teaspoon of turmeric powder (14.5 cal) for a minute, strain it and add half a teaspoon of honey (10 cal) or jaggery (9.5 cal) for sweetness. You will benefit greatly from the curcumin in turmeric, especially in winters when your immune system can do with every boost it can get.
This Kashmiri spiced drink is tailor-made for winters and there’s no reason you shouldn’t make some at home right now. Made with pure green tea and a blend of heart-warming spices, this tea is chock full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits. You just need to boil water, half a teaspoon of green tea (approximately 1 cal), eight to ten strands of saffron (less than 1 cal), a half-inch cinnamon stick (1.6 cal), two cloves (1 cal), two crushed cardamom pods (1 cal), half teaspoon dried rose petals (less than 1 cal), half teaspoon sliced almonds (8 calories) and honey (10 cal). Just about 24 calories and you have the best winter drink ever in your cup!
Spiced almond milk
A tall glass of badam doodh or almond milk has forever been recommended to stay warm in parts of northern India and is prepared in almost every household. But if you are worried about the calorie hike due to the use of regular milk, then try making this drink with unsweetened almond milk (13 cal) instead to get more of that yummy almond flavour. Add spices like cinnamon (1.6 cal) and cardamom (1 cal) and a natural low-cal sweetener like honey (10 cal) or jaggery (9.5 cal).
But isn’t hot chocolate just too rich and high in calories? Yes, it is, if you make it with whole milk and add whipped cream, chocolate syrup and marshmallows on top. Not if you whip it up with 100 ml unsweetened almond milk (13 cal) or soy milk (54 cal), a tablespoon of 70% dark chocolate (56 cal), half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder (2 cal) and honey (10 cal) for sweetness if needed. It’s a bit rich at 81-122 calories, but still a better way to have hot chocolate without gaining weight.
For more information, please read our article Calories: what are calories and calorie chart for Indian food.
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Known as a “small-changes approach”, these simple steps will help people manage their weight.