Tis’ the season—holiday parties, shopping for gifts, fruitcake and eggnog! According to Indiana University, over 135 million pounds of eggnog is consumed by Americans each year. From Thanksgiving to New Years, the average person will gain 8-10 pounds and eggnog is definitely considered a major belt unbuckler at the holiday dinner table. Beyond that delicious creamy taste, eggnog is basically a cup of fat and sugar (usually corn syrup). Some eggnog brands cram as many as 440 calories, 58 grams of sugar and 10 grams of saturated fat into a single 8-ounce serving. Add rum to the mix and top it off with some whipped cream and it can escalate to a whopping 750 calories! To put that into perspective, a fully loaded Big Mac contains 210 fewer calories, 49 grams less sugar and 8.7 grams less saturated fat. Ho Ho Holy heart attack!
But it is the holidays, a time to binge and I’m no Grinch! If eggnog falls into your “splurge-worthy” category, here’s some smarter ways to enjoy this festive beverage without worrying about a paramedic putting paddles on your chest and yelling, “CLEAR!”
*Opt for the ready-made "light" eggnog varieties available at most grocery stores. This can cut the calories and fat content by 40%.
* In my book Food Sanity, how to eat in a world of fads and fiction, I share why I am not a fan of consuming cow’s milk. Eggnog made from almond milk or cashew milk is a healthier option and available at most traditional and health food grocery stores. These dairy substitutes offer a delicious creamy texture that has the same consistency as traditional eggnog, with 60% fewer calories.
*If you want to add whipped cream, try using coconut whipped cream instead. This offers reduced calories without compromising flavor.
* If you add alcohol, use it sparingly. Mixing saturated fat, sugar with alcohol spikes your insulin level and puts a serious strain your digestive system. If you choose to add spirits to your eggnog, use just half an ounce. Rum and whiskey generally have the same amount of calories, which is slightly less than bourbon, brandy and whisky. Or, add some natural non-alcohol rum extract.
MAKE YOUR OWN EGGNOG
Making your own eggnog is not difficult and can actually be a fun holiday ritual with the family. It also allows you to have full control over what ingredients you use. Commercial eggnog uses pure corn syrup or sugar. Making your own allows you to use healthier sugar substitutes like liquid stevia extract or coconut sugar. If you are vegan, you can use egg substitutes and for a dairy alternative, use coconut milk, almond milk or cashew milk instead.
If you have a dairy allergy, coconut milk provides a healthy and delicious alternative. If you want to make it super healthy, leave out the sugar and add an extra teaspoon of vanilla extract.
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