Hispanic Holiday Drinks

How to enjoy holiday drinks healthfully

When it comes to truly special foods, like your mom’s atole at Christmas, I don’t like to offer “light” versions because really, we are eating these foods once a year and that’s not going to make or break our health goals, so we might as well enjoy them.

holiday drinks latin america

But so many of my clients are telling me their main goal with the holidays is to walk out of a holiday meal or party without having eaten so much they feel sick. And these holiday drinks are filling and sweet, a potent combo that can lead to that “so full I don’t feel good” feeling if you’re not careful. So here are my tips to enjoy your holiday drinks without getting to the point where you don’t feel great:

  1. Hydrate. Alternating the heavier drinks with plain water will slow you down and make you more mindful!

  2. Pair with meals. Since holiday drinks tend to be heavier, it’s easy to fill up before you have room for your actual meal. But filling up on just a sweet drink is a great way to get a stomach ache, so make sure you pair your drinks with a nourishing, well-rounded meal.

  3. Follow the Balanced Latin Meal structure: The holiday drinks can be treated like a carb on your balanced plate, meaning you want to pair them with non-starchy veggies and some protein.

(If you’re new to building balanced latin meals or need a refresher, check out my guide in my shop.)

What are common Hispanic holiday drinks?

Holiday drinks can be served hot (atole) or cold (coquito). Many holiday drinks are rich and creamy (rompope), but a few are on the lighter side too (ponche navideño). While there is a wide variety of flavors, these drinks tend to make use of richer ingredients such as egg or coconut cream, and often use seasonal ingredients like cinnamon or tejocote.

Examples of holiday drinks

I chose three holiday drinks common to three different Latin American countries and featured them below!


Puerto Rico: Coquito

Coquito often gets compared to egg nog, but features no egg! It’s similar in that it’s a cold, sweet, creamy drink that is traditional for Christmas! But all that creaminess come from coconut instead of egg. Pair with a pernil and an avocado and tomato salad for a balanced holiday meal!

Mexico: Ponche navideño

This punch features hibiscus, apples, and cinnamon, alongside seasonal ingredients like tejocotes.

atol de elote

Guatemala: Atol de elote

Atoles made from corn masa are common throughout latin America. Guatemala’s atol de elote features fresh corn kernels for an earthy, lightly sweet drink. While atol de elote can be enjoyed year-round, it becomes especially popular starting in fall through the Christmas season

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