Eggnog with Nutmeg and Cinnamon Sticks
Eggnog with Nutmeg and Cinnamon Sticks

(NewsUSA) – The holidays don’t intuitively seem like a good time to worry about healthy eating, but there are tasty ways to get your necessary intake of vitamins and nutrients. Dairy is an ideal example of a delicious but often overlooked source of essential nutrients — making it a great ingredient for holiday cooking.

“Even when we’re not celebrating the holidays, most Americans consume too many foods that are high in calories but low in nutrients,” says Alyssa Greenstein, a registered dietitian with the Dairy Council of Florida. “One way to lighten holiday fare is to focus on serving nutrient-rich choices from the food groups people need most. Those food groups are low-fat and fat-free dairy foods, fruits, vegetables and whole grains.”

Research shows that the average holiday meal with all the trimmings contains as many as 3,000 calories with 225 grams of fat. This can quickly add unwanted pounds — studies show that the average American typically gains one to two pounds during the holidays.

Science shows that consuming at least three servings of milk, cheese or yogurt every day helps people meet their daily calcium, potassium, and other nutrient recommendations and may help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as osteoporosis, hypertension, and obesity. During holiday cooking, substitute low-fat dairy options to get the same vitamins with fewer calories. Consider options like low-fat or fat-free cheese, low-fat or skim milk and fat-free plain Greek yogurt.

“Even people with lactose intolerance do not have to miss out on the enjoyment of dairy foods during the holidays or the essential nutrients that dairy provides all year long,” says Greenstein. “Lactose-free milk is real milk with the lactose (or sugar) removed. It contains the same nine essential nutrients as regular milk, including calcium, protein and vitamin D.”

Don’t sacrifice good taste to be healthy this season. Try this holiday recipe with your friends and family for a nutrient-rich beverage:

Vanilla Egg Nog

  • 3 eggs (or 3/4 cup pasteurized egg product)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 4 cups low-fat milk
  • 1 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Whole nutmeg, grated

In a blender, mix eggs and sugar. Add milk, yogurt, vanilla and salt; blend until frothy. Pour into serving glasses, and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg. Get more recipes at