Understanding Eggnog

   Dilute the usual eggnog 1:1 with milk. Diluting the traditional eggnog with whole milk gives you about 140 calories in 4 ounces, and using skim milk cuts it to 120 calories for the same size serving. It also gives you more protein and calcium to boot, and it's not so deadly thick and sweet.

   Try the ready-made "light" versions now available in supermarkets. They still have plenty of sugar, but half the calories, about a third of the fat and still taste fine.

   Make your own. It's not rocket science, and you can get in touch with your inner control freak because you decide where you want to shave calories: whole milk and sugar substitute? Fat-free milk and real sugar? Or go the distance and do fat-free milk, egg substitute and some sugar substitute packets.

Keith-Thomas Ayoob is an associate professor in the department of pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.

For the record, usual proportions are: 1 egg (or ¼ cup egg substitute), 1 cup of milk, 1 tablespoon sugar (or 2 packets sugar substitute, or to taste) and a couple of dashes of nutmeg. Add a few drops of vanilla or rum extract to round it all out.

This light version made with skim milk and egg and sugar substitutes will set you back only about 110 calories in 10 -- count 'em, 10 -- ounces, including 14 grams of great protein, so you can just maybe get your fill and it tastes better than you think.

Just use pasteurized eggs or an egg substitute (eggs should not be eaten raw) and don't forget the nutmeg and extracts. Now you've turned eggnog into a high-protein health drink -- one you can even have all year long.

Keith-Thomas Ayoob is an associate professor in the department of pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.

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