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Seasonal Sensibility

by John McGran & Becky Billingsley

This time of year special treats are offered to us at work, from neighbors, at restaurants and of course at holiday parties. What’s a sensible eater to do? Mrs. Good Food has a solution, and Mr. Bad Food has a suggestion for what to avoid.

From Mr. Bad Food:

‘Tis the season to be jowly… that’s if you give in too many times to the seasonal delights that accompany holiday gatherings and feasts.

OK, before I get in too deep here, let me say I only chose Hood Golden Egg Nog because the dairy’s headquarters are in Massachusetts and the Red Sox were about to capture their second World Series title in four years as I wrote this review.

So, to honor my wife’s favorite team I will besmirch a New England tradition.

Now Mr. Bad Food never was much of a fan of egg nog. I’ll be honest with you. It was the name that put me off. Egg nog… egg in a drink? Yo Mick, only Rocky would do that – drink eggs. And he was in training! And it was a movie! And he probably had a stunt man gulp down that dozen or so raw eggs!

Then there’s that word “NOG.” What the heck is a nog? An abbreviation for noggin?

So, two years ago while visiting my brother-in-law in Wilmington, Massachusetts, I broke down and sampled my first cup of egg nog. Let me just say… MAN, THIS STUFF IS REALLY GOOD!

But it’s also very calorie-rich. A half-cup of egg nog – a measly four ounces – will pad your daily nutrition totals with 180 calories and 9 grams of fat. And that’s before you party animals add the rum!

So after you add a shot or more of rum and suck up a few of these tasty holiday treats, you’re looking at several hundred extra calories and a passel of extra fat.

Don’t get me wrong. Mr. Bad Food would NEVER urge anyone to forego a favorite food or drink. The key here is MODERATION people. One or two egg nogs with family and friends is quite OK. Can you feel the love? Or is that the rum… hmmm?
The Hood Dairy Web site proudly proclaims their Golden Egg Nog a New England tradition. I’m all for tradition.  Just stick to the four-ounce servings. And not too many of them.

So why is Hood so good? Well, they blend extra creamy milk (milk that contains 6% butterfat) with sugared egg yolks, cane sugar and a combination of nutmeg and rum flavoring. If you really want to ward off holiday weight gain while you try something different something that may actually be healthy for you, then…

Chew on This: And try Silk brand Nog. Half a cup of this soybean-based drink has just 90 calories and 2 little grams of fat. Silk Nog has no eggs or milk. It’s a good choice for anyone who is vegan, lactose intolerant or looking for a lower-fat, lower-calorie alternative.

From Mrs. Good Food:

Normally I think anything made with sweet potatoes is pretty darn close to perfect food. The sweet ‘tater, as we call them in South Carolina, is one of the most nutritionally dense foods in existence since they’re so rich in beta carotene, riboflavin, iron and vitamins B6, C, A and E.

When I saw Betty Crocker now has instant Sweet Potato Mashed Potatoes, I was thrilled.

“That’ll save me so much time on Thanksgiving!” I thought.

Then I tore open the packet. What’s in there are a bunch of white flakes that look like regular old white instant mashed potato flakes, and little orange granules. The ingredients list has potatoes first and sweet potatoes second, but these granules don’t look like a substance resembling sweet potatoes in anything except color.

The flavor of the potatoes is like white instant mashed potatoes with sweet potato flavoring.

A box containing two pouches (each pouch makes three half-cup servings) costs $1.70. You have to add milk, water and butter to the mix, and then a serving has 170 calories, 5g fat (1.5 saturated, 1 trans), zero cholesterol, 360mg sodium, 28g carbohydrate (1 fiber, 11 sugars) and 3g protein.

For goodness’ sake: It’s easy to quickly cook a sweet potato in the microwave, and you get much better nutrition with the real thing. But if you really, really need your potatoes to be instant, these will do in a mealtime emergency.


Note: This information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the businesses in question before making your plans.

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