For those of us who mark the change of seasons with food (oh, hello everyone), we get extra excited when the weather shifts from hazy, hot and humid to sweater weather.
There’s something about fall that just brings on the warm and fuzzies. The moment there’s a little chill in the air, not only does it mean cute layers, but also apples, pumpkin spice and all the other glorious bounties of autumn. We’re definitely pumped for pies and savory stews—but it’s the steamy drinks that make us feel the coziest.
While every coffee shop you come across will be featuring their PSLs, there are seasonal drinks you can whip up at home (with a lot less sugar!). We’ve rounded up five of our faves for you to enjoy all autumn and winter long.
5 (Healthier) Hot Seasonal Drinks
There’s nothing super mysterious about making the perfect cup of apple cider—it’s more about the sum of its parts. The trick is to make it with several different types of apples (gala, golden delicious, McIntosh), to help balance the flavor. Let it simmer on your stovetop and enjoy!
Apples are rich sources of vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and polyphenols. The major polyphenols in apples, known as proanthocyanidins, may help prevent cancer and have been shown to protect against heart disease.
Get the Homemade Hot Apple Cider recipe here.
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Chai is easier to make than you’d think (and we’re not talking about the sugary pre-made mixes). There are many ways to make chai, but masala chai (masala refers to the spices) with ginger, cinnamon, peppercorns, clove, cardamom and fennel is incredibly warming. All of these spices are good for digestion, but ginger in particular has been studied extensively for its anti-inflammatory benefits.
This drink is an antioxidant powerhouse. Cardamom has been found to increase levels of glutathione, the master antioxidant in the body, which has powerful anti-aging benefits including improved skin elasticity and decreased wrinkles. It’s no secret that cinnamon packs some major health benefits too. It reduces inflammation, improves memory and attention span and helps to regulate blood sugar.
Get the Masala Chai recipe here.
Turmeric’s popularity doesn’t seem to be going anywhere soon. And with good reason! This trendy spice gives anything you combine it with a lovely orange-yellow glow, with an earthy, peppery flavor. Turmeric is filled with curcumin, which acts as a powerful antioxidant to fight free radicals while at the same time lowering levels of enzymes that cause inflammation. It also aids in digestion, improves liver function and improves pain. And if you need any more reason to love turmeric, this latte is also a delish warm beverage you can turn to on days when you’ve really gone too far with the coffee.
Our turmeric latte comes together in a flash, and tastes great in cooler weather too. The extra kick of cayenne pepper not only adds flavor, but has also been found to boost metabolic activity and energy expenditure.
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Imagine how much better this ubiquitous coffee shop fave could be if you had total control over the ingredients. Pumpkin (one of our favorite seasonal veggies) contains vitamin A, potassium and fiber. It’s also loaded with vitamin C, which is critical for supporting the immune system. We like this PSL version from the Minimalist Baker that includes coffee or espresso, along with coconut milk, pumpkin puree, spices and maple syrup.
Nutmeg, allspice and clove scream cozy but also help boost the nutrient profile of this classic fall drink. Nutmeg has antidepressant properties and has been shown to alter neurotransmitter activity and increase dopamine.
Allspice contains the compounds eugenol, quercetin, gallic acid and ericifolin, which have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. (Say that 10 times fast!) Clove has greater antioxidant and antimicrobial activity than other spices.
Get the Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe here.
Chocolate and coconut—the perfect combination. When you’re looking for a little indulgence, try this creamy coconut hot cocoa. Coconut milk, cocoa powder, dark chocolate chips, vanilla extract and a dash of maple syrup are all you need to make this sweet treat. Top it with some non-dairy coconut whipped cream and a sprinkle of super-healthy cinnamon.
You’ll get antioxidants from the dark chocolate and an added bonus of iron, magnesium and potassium with the coconut milk.
Get the Coconut Hot Chocolate recipe here.