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Healthy for the Holidays: Non-alcoholic Champagne punch

Martinelli's Sparkling Cider comes in a variety of flavors. Look for the pear and apple — delicious.

Cheers to the New Year around the corner and the new you.

The easiest way to drop off weight almost immediately is to cut out the festive alcoholic holiday beverages. This is easier said than done during this season when commercials on television are full of people hoisting something for adults only; your local grocers are displaying tree-shaped pyramids of booze; and every other gift you receive is a bottle of wine.

Did you know that for the cost of two bottles of decent wine (we are not talking boxes here) you can get a membership to the TDRPD fitness center complete with the indoor track for one whole month?

Seriously, it is time to rethink our priorities as we approach 2017. At Truckee-Donner Recreation & Park District, this might mean cutting back on our potlucks … (But there is always something to celebrate. Really!).

While temptation to over-indulge on cocktails is running high right now, there are some great non-alcoholic alternatives to turn to. St. Pauli Girl offers a fantastic N/A beer, as does Beck's.

In the wine category, Ariel Vineyards actually won a gold medal at the Los Angeles County fair when judged against wines with a standard alcohol content. Sutter Home also offers alcohol-free wine.

When putting together your Bloody Mary, think excellent Bloody Mary mix and no vodka. Zing Zang and V8 Bloody Mary Mix are a good way to go and be sure to stuff lots of big olives, lemon wedges, pickled green beans and pepperoncinis in your "Virgin Mary" for a more hearty and festive flair.

Root beer topped with a dollop of whipped cream is a sweet alternative to spiced eggnog or buttered anything. Sparkling water with a shot of cranberry (only!) and served with a slice of lime is an easy, inexpensive, healthy go-to on any occasion.

Lastly, probably the best, very best, hands-down best non-alcoholic drink is Elderflower Lemonade. Available online or in gourmet markets, this treat will end up becoming your new holiday tradition.

Truly there are so many options and it will be fun to come up with some "mocktails' of your own. Following is a recipe for non-alcoholic "champagne." Here's looking at the new you kid!

Non-alcoholic Champagne punch

Ingredients:

2 two-liter bottles chilled ginger ale

5 cups chilled pineapple juice

3 cups chilled sparkling water or club soda

Preparation:

Mix all together in large decorative bowl and serve in Champagne flutes

This column comes courtesy of the Truckee-Donner Recreation and Park District staff, Fitness and Aquatic Center members, reminding us to enjoy responsibly during the holidays. For more information on how you can stay in shape during the winter months visit tdrpd.org.