With the weather outside giving way to rather ugly temperatures, chances of snow and blustery north winds, it’s time to start considering how to stay warm, from the inside out. Getting something hot in your tummy is the primo way of doing just that. Starbucks and other assorted coffeehouses may be hung up on hot drinks with gobs of sugar, milk and crandy, but that doesn’t mean all winter warm-me-ups need to be so. Whether in your to-go cup on the way to work or while sending up streams of steam from your favorite mug, there are plenty of pick-me-up, warm-me-up beverages that can fight off the wintery woes while bolstering your immune system for the colds and flus that are sure to be swirling around in those arctic blasts.

Here are some healthy winter drinks, links for making them, and some details on why you should be drinking one right now.

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Mint Hot Chocolate

Why not kick things off with a little tipple in your sipple? With or without the booze, hot chocolate is always a treat. Heating it low and slow keeps some of those great anti-oxidants and healthy minerals ready to rage war inside your body, fighting off would-be sniffles and stuffy heads. Mint is good for respiratory issues, including coughing, as well as wards off the wintertime blues. Lastly, the Vitamin C and E found in coconut milk helped to bulk up the immune system.

Hot Spiced Apple Cider

A great bonus, spiced apple cider will have the house smelling like a festive wonderland, but alas, it’s such a nice change of pace from the typical tea or coffee drinks. Cider can be alcoholic if you wish, but is also great without silly juice. Cider hasn’t been processed in the same way as juice, so many of the nutrients found in apples are retained, not to mention the fact that spices like cinnamon, cloves and cardamom offer a well-rounded jolt of medicinal attributes.

Soothing Chai

Again with the smells! Chai is as good to the nose as it is on the tongue. What’s more is that, is it offers up yet another great array of medicinal spices and herbs to keep you healthy through the cold season. Black pepper, cardamom, giner, cinnamon, and star anise all come with digestive and mood-boosting benefits. Some chai recipes call for milk to be added and some don’t. For me, I love a nice creamy coconut or almond milk in the mix, something to stick that warmth to my bones and provide a little more nutrition than dairy milk.

Pumpkin Pie Warmer

Fall and winter are the seasons of pumpkin lovin’, and nothing feels quite so right as pumpkin pie. Well, maybe a pumpkin pie warmer, with all those familiar pumpkin pie spices and a healthy dose of raw coconut milk, and what else—pumpkin. In addition to the benefits of spices and coconut milk, pumpkin puree is packed with Vitamin A and C, which will boost the immune system. So, there you have it- spices, coconut milk, and pumpkin all vying for your good health while keeping you warm. Or, just recreate those coffeehouse Pumpkin Spice Lattes the healthy way.

Mulled Wine

This one is probably best saved for evenings at home or by fireside rather than to-go cups to work, but without a doubt, aromatic mulled wine is a superstar of the holiday season. Another full collection of spices, as well as some anti-oxidants from vegan-friendly red wine, combine for healthy benefits here. And, the little dash wedge of orange tossed in the mix will add some Vitamin C to boot. Plus, there is a definite relaxation factor involved with any glass of wine.

Of course, there is a huge variety of herbal teas that’ll do the job quickly and well to warm you up, and coffee is a pretty darn tasty beverage with its own upside. But, sometimes it’s nice to throw convention to the wintry winds and sip on something a bit more exciting. These are perfect ways to do it hot and healthy.

Image Source: Alex Lamster/Flickr

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