The holiday season is one of the most joyous times of year, and much of that has to do with tradition. From your youngest days, you learn that holidays are not complete without a few necessities: Christmas trees, decorative lights, carols blasting from the stereo, a warm and toasty fireplace, classic movies playing nonstop on the television and so on. One thing that people really look forward to is a kitchen full of seasonal treats and beverages, ranging from pumpkin pie to turkey to bread stuffing.
When it comes to drinks, eggnog is a holiday favorite. However, you may feel reluctant to indulge in this rich beverage: All that milk? All that sugar? All those eggs? Is there a way to enjoy eggnog and still be health conscious? As a matter of fact, there is. All you have to do is tweak the recipe.
Where does eggnog come from?
Before learning about how to make healthier versions of eggnog, you may appreciate the drink better if you knew how it came to be synonymous with the holiday season. According to Time magazine, eggnog has its origins in Great Britain about a thousand years ago. At that time, a beverage known as posset was made with milk and ale. During the 1200s, monks enjoyed their posset with figs and eggs. Because these were foods of the upper class people, eggnog became the preferred drink during toasts to fortune and good health. It wasn’t until the 18th century when eggnog became a holiday staple. This started in the American colonies, where there were plenty of farms and cheap rum. There were also variations of eggnog in Mexico and Puerto Rico, the latter of which may include coconut milk. Doesn’t this rich history make you feel like enjoying a glass of traditional eggnog? If it does, you may have to be careful. One cup of the standard eggnog recipe can contain as many as 400 calories. If you want to enjoy the sweet spice of eggnog without the worry, consider these two alternative recipes:
1. Low-fat eggnog (adapted from the Food Network)
- 2 cups of nonfat milk
- 2 large strips of lemon or orange zest
- 2 large eggs and 1 egg yolk
- 1/3 cup of sugar or substitute of choice
- 1 teaspoon of cornstarch
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 vanilla bean
- Bourbon or white rum (optional)
Directions: In a saucepan, mix 1.5 cups of milk, citrus zest, and the seeds and pod of a freshly split vanilla bean. Leave to simmer over medium heat. Meanwhile, mix the eggs cornstarch and sugar in another bowl until it’s light yellow. Slowly pour the milk mixture into the second bowl, whisking along the way. Place all of this back into the saucepan and stir over medium heat until it thickens. Remove from heat and add the remaining milk. Chill until ready to serve. Before serving, remove the citrus zest and bean pod. Add liquor and nutmeg as desired. One half-cup contains 90 calories.
2. Eggless eggnog protein shake (adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie)
- 1 cup of the milk of your choice, including nonfat dairy, soy, almond, rice or coconut
- 1/2 cup of silken firm tofu
- 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice (optional)
- 1/8 teaspoon of salt
- 2 teaspoons of sugar or substitute of choice
- 1 packet of stevia (or 1 tablespoon of sugar of choice)
- 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon of ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
- a dash of cloves
- a splash of rum (optional)
Directions: Combine all ingredients into a blender and let it rip. It can be served cold or hot. This single serving recipe, if made with almond milk, contains only 86 calories.