It’s time to give the nod to nog.
New incarnations of this holiday standard have upgraded its nutritional value, eliminating most or all of the problem ingredients that made the old-fashioned variety a recipe for a heart attack. So if you were missing the old-timey treat, there’s still time to enjoy it this holiday season.
It’s not hard to understand what the problem is with regular eggnog.
Traditional eggnog is made with milk, raw eggs, sugar and spices – including nutmeg. Cream is sometimes added, too, for extra richness.
One cup of traditional eggnog is high in protein – about 10 grams – and it’s a good source of calcium, vitamins D, B12 and riboflavin. But it’s loaded with saturated fat and cholesterol, and 1 cup can contain more than 300 calories.
That’s double the number of calories of a glass of whole milk; even more if you add liquor.
Enter the new nogs.
Healthier alternatives have emerged over the past several years. They taste great, and they are a huge improvement nutritionally.
My favorite is Silk seasonal nog soy milk. I first wrote about it in this column in 2006 at the same time I pestered the manager of my neighborhood Harris Teeter until he stocked it in the store.
One cup contains 180 calories and no saturated fat or cholesterol. There’s less sodium than in traditional nog, but there’s also less calcium and protein.
I just wish I could still enjoy it. Since joining the ranks of the soy intolerant, I now can only gaze at the Silk nog as my grocery cart and I shuffle along.
Fortunately, “lite” varieties of dairy eggnog are not hard to find. The one in my fridge is made with fat-free milk, so it’s free of saturated fat and very low in cholesterol.
At 220 calories per cup, though, it’s a treat I’ll enjoy in small amounts for only a very short time.
Some stores now carry eggnog made with almond milk, rice milk and coconut milk, too. Find the largest selection in natural foods stores.
Nutritionally, they’re all better choices than old-fashioned eggnog.
Some people complain that nondairy nogs are thinner and not as rich as traditional eggnog. That may or may not bother you. Experiment and see decide for yourself.
This season, try a new nog.
Suzanne Havala Hobbs is a registered dietitian and clinical associate professor of health policy and management at UNC-Chapel Hill. Reach her at email@example.com; follow her on Twitter, @suzannehobbs.