One of my favorite parts of the holiday season are all the festive Mexican Christmas drinks to enjoy!
As a dietitian, sometimes people expect me to tell them not to enjoy sweets or festive drinks. But I think cultural traditions like special holiday foods are a huge part of maintaining our connection to our community and culture. Plus, I’m a strong believer in all foods fit, so I like to coach my clients on how to incorporate special holiday foods as part of their balanced diet.
Keep reading for some tips on how to enjoy your favorite holiday drinks and a list of the best Mexican Christmas drinks!
Tips for enjoying holiday drinks healthfully
If you know me, you know I teach nutrition from a perspective of how we can add to our meals. I take this approach instead of recommending “light” swaps or “healthier” recipes.
This is because eating a fully satisfying meal–and that means fully satisfying taste, too–can help us be more intuitive eaters.
But the holidays can bring up some nutrition challenges. Many of my clients tell me their goal for the holidsays is simply to walk out of a holiday meal or party without having eaten so much they feel sick.
So here are my tips to enjoy your holiday drinks without getting to the point where you don’t feel great:
Hydrate. Alternating the sweeter drinks with plain water will slow you down and make you more mindful!
Pair with meals. Since holiday drinks tend to be sweeter, it’s easy to fill up before you have room for your actual meal. But filling up on just a sweet drink alone may cause you to get a stomach ache, so make sure you pair your drinks with a nourishing, well-rounded meal.
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.)
Most Popular Mexican Christmas 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.
Here are the most popular Mexican Christmas drinks:
Rompope is the Mexican version of eggnog! Made with eggs, milk, cinnamon, and an optional kick of rum, rompope is a sweet, creamy Christmas drink.
Rompope is typically served cold, but you may see a warm version every now and then! I recommend rompope as a sweet after dinner drink!
This punch’s name literally means Christmas punch! Ponche navideño features hibiscus, apples, and cinnamon, alongside seasonal fruits like tejocotes.
Served warm at holiday gatherings, I love to enjoy a mug of this punch with appetizers.
Atole is an ancient mesoamerican drink made from corn masa (although some versions use fresh corn). While traditionally atole could be served for breakfast or an on-the-go meal, many Mexican-Americans have adopted atole as a special occasion treat.
Atole goes perfectly with tamales, especially for a Christmas morning breakfast!
Champurrado is the chocolate version of atole! Don’t forget that chocolate is originally mesoamerican, and has a long history in Mexican food.
All that to say, champurrado is just as ancient as atole.
Like atole, I recommend serving champurrado with tamales. Especially for breakfast!
Mexican Hot Chocolate
Another ancient Mexican drink that we still celebrate with today!
Ancient Mexican hot chocolate did not use dairy and likely wasn’t sweetened. But it did have the signature frothiness we associate with Mexican hot chocolate today!
Hot chocolate makes a great breakfast drink with chilaquiles, or a good dessert.
There are so many delicious holiday traditions in Mexican culture. These five Mexican Christmas drinks are just some of the special ways to celebrate the season.
Looking for more ways to celebrate the holidays with Mexican food? Check out my guide to gifts for Mexican food lovers!