It’s eggnog season: Low-fat version of holiday treat cuts calories, not taste
By Mary Morris
Chowan County Extension Director
Sunday, November 27, 2016
Every year right after Thanksgiving I get so excited because it’s finally eggnog season. This delicious holiday taste of heaven is on the shelves and being made in homes all across the south. As you can tell I am a fan, but I do have a few helpful hints on how you can enjoy this tasty treat without extending your waistline or spending your Holiday in the emergency room.
Well in case you didn’t know, eggnog is pretty high in calories and fat, around 400 calories per serving for most brands and around 10-12 grams of fat per 8 oz serving. But that’s what makes it so delicious right? There are a few nonalcoholic brands that you can purchase that still have the taste but are much better for you. When shopping, look for the lighter version of your favorite brand, this could save you about half the calories and fat. The soy versions are the best option with only around 180 calories per serving and 4 grams of fat. So choose wisely, and read the food label.
So now let’s talk about food safety. Yes eggnog recipes traditionally call for raw eggs, Dr. Ben Chapman, food safety specialist at N.C. State University says, “If you’re buying eggnog at the store, the beverage has likely been pasteurized, that means the egg-and-milk combination has been heat-treated to kill most of the harmful microorganisms that could make you sick, and reduce the ones that cause spoilage as well.”
Some people do actually still make their own eggnog at home, and usually this is the alcoholic version. If you’re using your favorite Aunt Margaret’s recipe, there are a few food safety issues with the homemade version with raw eggs in the recipe. Raw eggs are associated with Salmonella, which is a foodborne illness that can make you sick. The very young and elderly are especially at risk. Alcohol added to the raw egg mixture does not make the drink safe, you will need to cook the egg mixture to make sure to kill any pathogens.
The FDA, advises consumers to start with a cooked egg base for eggnog.
To make a cooked egg base:
1. Combine eggs and half the milk as indicated in the recipe. (Other ingredients, such as sugar may be added at this step.)
2. Cook the mixture gently to an internal temperature of 160 degrees, stirring constantly. The cooking will destroy Salmonella, if present. At this temperature, the mixture will firmly coat a metal spoon (but please don’t lick the spoon if the custard is not fully cooked!).
3. After cooking, chill the mixture before adding the rest of the milk and other ingredients.
As you plan your menu for holiday parties and get-togethers, remember these two things when making your eggnog choices; Is it going to blow my calories out of the park or send my guest to the hospital? The good news is that when you make your own eggnog, you are in control of both and can serve your friends and family in good conscience. Any store-bought eggnog you purchase is pasteurized, but just be careful to read the food label to make your best selection. If you have any questions about how to prepare foods safely or more on healthy eating please contact your local Cooperative Extension Family and Consumer Science Agent, or Mary Morris: firstname.lastname@example.org or 252-482-6585 in Chowan County.
Mary Morris is also Chowan County extension director and family and consumer science agent
Low-Fat Eggnog Recipe
Total Time: 20 minutes
Prep: 20 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
2 cups nonfat milk
2 large strips orange and/or lemon zest
1 vanilla bean
2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
White rum or bourbon (optional)
Combine 1½ cups milk and the citrus zest in a medium saucepan. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out seeds; add the seeds and pod to the sauce pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs, egg yolk, sugar and cornstarch in a medium bowl until light yellow.
Gradually pour the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly, then pour back into the pan. Place over medium heat and stir constantly with a spoon in a figure-eight motion until the eggnog begins to thicken (160 degrees), about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and immediately stir in the remaining ½ cup milk to stop the cooking. Transfer the eggnog to a large bowl and place on top of a larger bowl of ice to cool, then chill until ready to serve. Remove the zest and vanilla pod. Spike the eggnog with liquor, if desired, and garnish with nutmeg.
Per serving (1/2 cup): Calories 90; Fat 2 g (Saturated 1g); Cholesterol 96 mg; Sodium 59 mg; Carbohydrates 13g; Fiber 0g; Protein 5g.
Mary Morris Chowan County extension director and family and consumer science agent cooks a low-fat eggnog recipe.
The FDA advises consumers to start with a cooked egg base for eggnog.
This low-fat version of eggnog has 90 calories and 2 grams of fat compared to higher fat versions with more than double the calories and fat.