Eggnog is traditionally a popular beverage choice for the holiday season, although for most people, you either love it or hate it. While the exact origin of this rich creamy beverage is debated, most believe it was developed in Europe in medieval times. Typical ingredients include eggs, milk, sugar and spices, such as nutmeg. As the drink was brought to Colonial North America, rum was added to give the eggnog a whole new kick. Rum is still the preferred spirit, but eggnog also may be made with bourbon, whiskey, brandy or sherry.
Alcohol, of course, does not have to be added and can easily be replaced with vanilla and rum extracts, which will help lower the calorie level of this high-calorie drink. But when eggs are used, there’s bound to be some fat and cholesterol, as well as a risk for food-borne illness if it’s not prepared properly. Using raw eggs is no longer recommended. If eggs are not pasteurized or cooked, salmonellosis may occur. Salmonella symptoms include stomach cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea, and it could be life threatening, especially in the elderly, young children, pregnant women, or immuno-compromised individuals. You must either heat the raw egg mixture slowly to 160 degrees F, or buy pasteurized whole eggs or pasteurized liquid egg substitute at the grocery store, in which case the heating step may be skipped entirely.
If making large batches of eggnog using raw eggs that have been heated, divide it into several shallow containers first. Once the eggnog is made, refrigerate it quickly and use within one day. This allows it to cool quickly without the possible growth of microorganisms. If you’re still not sure about using eggs, try this nog, which is safe and rich in flavor but without the fat and calories!
Sugar-Free Holiday Nog
7 cups skim milk, divided
1 (1.4 oz.) box instant sugar-free vanilla pudding mix
1 to 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or rum extract
2 to 4 packets Splenda or other sugar substitute equal to 4 to 8 teaspoons of sugar
1 cup evaporated skim milk
Combine 2 cups skim milk, pudding mix, extract and sugar substitute in a bowl; mix and pour into ½ gallon container. Add remaining milk and evaporated milk; mix well. Chill.
Yield: 8 1-cup servings
Nutrient analysis per serving: 110 calories, 0 grams fat, 320 milligrams sodium, 5 milligrams cholesterol, 18 grams carbohydrate, 0 grams dietary fiber, 9 grams protein