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Simply Nutritious, Quick and Delicious

Jenna Smith, Extension Educator brings you helpful tips to make meals easy, healthy and tasty!
eggnog xlarge

Beverages Beware

Have you noticed all the commercials for alcoholic beverages lately? Or the marketing of holiday flavored coffee drinks for McDonald's, Starbucks and the like? It's no wonder there is a push for fancy drinks; the holidays are generally a time for celebration and who doesn't love a warm drink in their hands on a cold winter day? However, if you're not careful, you may find yourself drinking more calories than what you actually eat!

Beverages, especially alcoholic beverages, are often a source of hidden calories. It can be easy to down a few mixed drinks at your New Year's Eve or holiday party without even thinking twice. After all, they don't always give the feeling of fullness. If you decide to drink, enjoy it in moderation, which is no more than one drink a day for women and no more than two drinks daily for men. One drink is equivalent to 12 ounces of regular beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits. And remember; never drink if it puts you or others at risk!

Coffee shops have become a popular destination spot. But some of the drinks on the menu may come with a hefty load of calories. Depending on the size and type of beverage chosen, a person may easily consume 600 calories or more just for the drink alone! If you plan to stop for a hot beverage, learn the language of ordering. First, start with the size. Even the smallest drink is often 12 fluid ounces, more than one cup or 8 fluid ounces. This may be called "tall". Some companies offer a smaller size, but don't put it on their menu. So it's best to ask for the smallest size and avoid the larger sizes marked "grande", "venti", "supreme", etc. Next, if you're ordering a hot or cold latte, mocha, or cappuccino, ask for nonfat milk. Many places will use whole milk unless specified. Flavored syrups are often used, such as peppermint, caramel, hazelnut, and vanilla to add a little extra goodness. By asking for sugar free flavoring, you will save additional calories. Lastly, say no to whipped topping! This could save you over 100 calories. In coffee house language opt for the word "skinny. This should give you low fat milk, sugar free syrup, and no whipped topping, but the term isn't consistent in all places so be sure to ask.

Of course, you could just whip up a holiday drink at home. For you eggnog lovers, you must try this low-calorie option!

Sugar-Free Holiday Nog Printable PDF


7 cups skim milk, divided

1 package (1 oz) 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, vanilla and sugar substitute in a bowl; mix and pour into ½ gallon container with tight fitting lid. Add 3 cups milk; shake well. Add evaporated milk; shake well. Chill.


(Yield: Makes 8- 1 cup servings)

Nutrient analysis per serving: 114 calories, 296 milligrams sodium, 6 milligrams cholesterol, 18 grams carbohydrate, 10 grams protein

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