Moderation is usually a good mantra for your everyday eating, but practicing moderation can be especially tricky during the holiday season. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, indulgent treats are basically handed to you at every turn.
Eggnog is one of those treats. The combination of heavy cream, egg yolks, spiced rum, and sugar add up to a high-calorie drink. Homemade recipes vary, but one store-bought brand of eggnog contained 460 calories, 24 grams of fat, and 56 grams (!!) of sugar per cup. And that’s without the rum.
In moderation, that’d be fine and dandy, but in a month already packed with white chocolate fudge, gingerbread houses, and Santa-shaped cookies, the treats add up.
What’s an eggnog lover to do? One possibility is to healthify your homemade eggnog. A few simple swaps could cut down on sugar, calories, or saturated fat in your eggnog.
1. Lighten your milk choice.
Most eggnogs are made with heavy cream, half-and-half, and/or whole milk. Instead, you can use low-fat milk, or even plant-based milks like almond milk or oat milk. (Similarly, you can also use almond milk to lighten up your hot chocolate.)
Think of it this way: Whole milk contains 150 calories and 8 grams of fat in one cup, but plain almond milk contains just 60 calories and 3 grams of fat per cup. Check out this eggnog recipe with almond milk from A Sweet Pea Chef.
2. Go eggless.
Eggnog without eggs? (*Gasp*) It might seem strange, but you can ditch the eggs without losing the eggnog experience. After all, most of the love-it-or-hate-it flavor comes from the nutmeg.
The main purpose of egg yolks in eggnog is to add extra richness, but that comes at a cost: Each egg yolks adds about 55 calories and 4.5 grams of fat. For the same flavor without the yolk, find out how to make eggless eggnog from the Living Well Mom.
3. Keep it “virgin.”
A shot of rum or brandy might make your eggnog more fun, but it certainly won’t keep the calorie count in check. A 1-ounce shot of rum contains around 64 calories (and let’s be honest, many people probably like to pour themselves a double).
Taking your eggnog sans booze can save sugar and calories … and help you avoid a hangover. If you want, add a splash of rum extract instead. It can help you get the flavor profile you might be looking for, without the actual alcohol.
If you’re a diehard fan of the traditional recipe—and all these swaps sound blasphemous to you—you could always just be mindful of your portion sizes. Most eggnog recipes are 300 calories or more for an 8-ounce serving. Having half a glass and switching to water might help you get the best of both worlds.
If eggnog isn’t your thing, here are tips to healthify your other favorite seasonal drinks.