National Egg Nog Month

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If there was ever a month to pay tribute to egg nog, it’s December, when this traditional favorite plays a limited holiday engagement. Egg nog has in fact been made for hundreds of years, although what we enjoy today has had a rather gradual evolution.

It’s thought that this sweetly spiced concoction originated in England. The British drink of sugared milk and egg was called Egg Flip since it was mixed by rapidly pouring or “flipping” the mixture between two containers to blend it. It was then often served in a “noggin,” or small, carved wooden mug.

This beloved drink grew in popularity in the English colonies during the 18th century, as both rum and dairy products became increasingly available. The first Colonial name, “egg’n'grog,” was eventually shortened to “eggnog.”

Egg nog traditionally consists of milk, sugar, eggs, vanilla and spices, primarily nutmeg. For most of its history, it was served warm, spiked with either whiskey, rum, bourbon, or cognac. Needless to say, it’s a rich, high-calorie treat, really a dessert in itself at over 300 calories/serving─not counting the shot of rum that elevates that to a hefty 400+ calories.

Never fear, there are several smart ways to enjoy the sweet, spicy creaminess of egg nog without expanding your waistline. For example, check out alternatives like soy or coconut nog─both widely available in natural food stores─which are deliciously satisfying for a fraction of the calories of traditional versions.

If you want to make your own egg nog, you’ll find a wide variety of recipes on-line, however many are loaded with sugar, fat and cholesterol. Some are also rather labor intensive, which may be challenging during busy holiday times.

This lighter traditional option takes a little work, but it’s a scrumptious bargain at 152 calories/serving. Make it even healthier by swapping the sugar for lower-glycemic agave nectar:

This super easy, tasty vegan recipe is another winner:

Or how about this nutritionist’s trick? Blend ¼ cup of traditional grocery store egg nog with ¾ cup soy or almond milk, then add some extra nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger. Sweeten to taste with stevia, and enjoy hot or cold─whiskey optional. Mmmm! Plus you get the health bonus of extra antioxidants from the added spices.

So maybe you can have your cakeor egg nog, in this caseand eat it too. Why not enjoy this age-old holiday favorite in good health? Cheers!

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