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I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Eggnog, A Holiday Tradition

The holidays are filled with a plethora of culinary delights.  Unfortunately, all of these tempting delights can be problematic for those on restricted diets, those with food allergies or intolerances or those simply trying to maintain their weight.  The average person gains one pound over the holiday season although some sources report the average gain is more like 5 to 8 pounds.  In order to lose one pound, a calorie deficit of 3,500 calories is needed.  The good news is, it doesn't matter what you eat be it all carbs or all fat the only requirement to lose weight is a calorie deficit.  If you require 1,550 cal for basic life functions and daily activities per day but you are eating 1,800 calories you will gain weight.  If you are eating 1,450 calories you will lose weight.  The calorie deficit does not need to come from reduced caloric intake though.  Add exercise or increased physical activity and you can eat the required 1.550 cal AND still lose weight because you are creating a calorie deficit through exercise.  One of the easiest ways to help prevent that holiday weight gain is portion control and the second is to be cognizant of the ingredients.  This is especially important if you are on a sodium reduced diet or have food allergies or intolerances.

three mug sizes
Pictured are three of our mugs.  Eggnog is usually served in mugs.  The largest mug is 14 oz (397 ml), the medium size is 8 oz (227 ml) and the smallest is 6 oz (170 ml).  The smaller two sizes are the most common sizes for holiday servings of eggnog or hot chocolate.  If the smallest size is not offered, ask for your mug filled 2/3 full or better yet half full.  You will be avoiding the calories in at least 2 oz of eggnog without really missing the larger size.

Eggnog is often spiked with rum.  One ounce of rum will add about 100 calories per drink.  In general, those restricting calories are advised to omit the alcohol however, as long as you are eating your daily requirement for weight maintenance or creating a calorie deficit for weight loss, it really doesn't matter if you add the rum providing you budget your calories to do so. 

a small mug of eggnog ready to be enjoyed
Eggnog is either homemade (traditional, dairy free)  or commercially made.  Our traditional eggnog is made just like my Mom made using whole milk and raw eggs.  Whole milk has 150 calories, 8 g total fat, 35 mg cholesterol, 120 mg sodium, 400 mg potassium, 12 g carbohydrates (11 g sugar) in an 8 ounces.  It also provides Vitamin A (6%), calcium 30%, Vitamin C 4%, Vitamin D (25%) and phosphorous (25%).  The other major nutritional ingredient in homemade eggnog is egg yolk at 55 calories per yolk.  Each yolk also has 210 mg cholesterol for those wishing to avoid dietary cholesterol.   Sugar adds another 15 calories per teaspoon.  Stevia can be substituted for the sugar to reduce the sweetener calories if desired.  A 6 oz mug of homemade eggnog comes in at about 225 calories. 

A 6 oz mug of commercially made whole milk eggnog is about 270 calories.  It is higher in sodium, lower in potassium, has no Vitamin D and double in carbohydrates.  Commercially made eggnog also contains yellow dyes #5 and #6 as well as corn syrup and carrageenan (thickener).  There are concerns with the aforementioned, all of which cause health problems.  Chances are very good at holiday gatherings, the eggnog will be commercially made.   Since commercially made eggnog is higher in calories, lower in nutritional value and contains at least three ingredients that can cause health problems, it may be one of those holiday treats you decide to not indulge in.  Homemade eggnog is high in nutrition and taste, with none of the problems of commercially made eggnog.  However, homemade eggnog can be problematic for those who are lactose intolerant.

A few days ago I came across a dairy free coconut eggnog recipe that would suitable for those who are lactose intolerant or for those following the Paleo diet.  Coconut milk is substituted for whole milk.  While coconut milk is a great substitute for either purpose, it is not suitable for those restricting calories.  Coconut milk has 93 calories in 2 ounces or 279 calories in 6 ounces without the calories of the egg yolks and sweetener which would put a 6 oz mug of this eggnog in the 420 calorie range.  Coconut milk is however, very low in sodium content (9 mg/2 oz) and carbohydrates (2 g/2 oz).

Of the three options, avoid the commercially made eggnog if at all possible.  Be sure to add a sprinkling of nutmeg and a cinnamon stick.  Cinnamon adds flavour while increasing sugar metabolism which aids in weight loss because sugar is burned rather than converted to fat in the body.  Cinnamon is also beneficial for circulatory problems.  Nutmeg improves concentration, increases circulation and lowers cholesterol.   Eggnog is a delicious holiday tradition that you can still indulge in without the guilt even if you are restricting calories. 

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