3 Guilt-Free Eggnog Options to Enjoy Throughout the Holidays

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Anytime I write about eggnog, I brace myself for the backlash from eggnog purists who criticize me for interfering with tradition: Why not just enjoy the real thing? I get it. I'm a lifelong fan of eggnog myself. And for those who have eggnog just a few times a year, it's fine to enjoy the real thing in moderation.

Personally, I like to enjoy a glass of eggnog most evenings throughout the holidays (or as long as eggnog is sold in stores), and I don't want the 400 calories and 48 grams of sugar per cup. Instead, I prefer to have something that's close to the real thing, but with a fraction of the sugar and calories.

Unfortunately, most light or low-fat versions aren't really much better nutritionally speaking, as they are still loaded with sugar and pack in nearly 300 calories per cup. (Eggnog nutrition facts are typically given for a 4-ounce, half-cup serving, so double that number if you're sipping a full cup!)

The Power of Collagen Powder

There are eggnog options out there that are decent, nutritionally speaking, but they're thinner in texture and flavor than I prefer. But I've found a solution for this: simply add a scoop of collagen powder and stir or blend until well-mixed.

Not only does the powder provide an extra boost of protein with the potential benefits of collagen, it also gives the eggnog a slightly thicker, richer texture, similar to that of conventional eggnog. (Note that collagen powder is unflavored and thickens liquids only slightly. Vanilla protein powder can also be used, but it will change the flavor and will likely add a fluffiness to the eggnog.)

Lightened-Up Eggnog Options

Here are my top three picks among all the eggnog options out there. As an added bonus, each also happens to be dairy free, soy free and vegan.

As far as the best flavor and texture is concerned, well, that will vary by individual preference. My personal favorite is made by Califia Farms, but try each to see which you like best.

1. Califia Farms Holiday Nog: Made with almond milk, Califia Farms Holiday Nog has just 50 calories and 8 grams of sugar per half-cup, about 75 percent fewer calories and two-thirds less sugar than traditional eggnog. Trader Joe's Almond Nog is nearly identical in nutrition stats and ingredients.

2. MALK Pecan Milk Nog: Made with pecan milk, Pecan Milk Nog has 73 calories and 3.5 grams of sugar per half-cup serving. It is dairy free, soy free and vegan.

3. So Delicious Coconut Nog: Made with coconut milk, Coconut Nog has only 90 calories, which is about 60 percent fewer calories than regular eggnog. With 15 grams of sugar per half-cup serving, it’s higher in sugar than the other two versions, but also has a slightly thicker consistency.

    A version of this article originally appeared on Nola.com. See the full article here.

    Note: Registered dietitian Molly Kimball offers brand-name products as a consumer guide; she, along with Ochsner Health System, do not solicit product samples nor are paid to recommend items.

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