Happy, Healthy Holidays!

Today’s post comes from supermarket dietitian Karen Buch, MS, RD, who leads the Weis Lifestyle Initiatives team for Weis Markets. In her role, she is responsible for consumer advocacy and strategic planning for Weis Markets’ growing health and wellness initiatives. Karen also serves as the editor-in-chief of Weis Healthy Bites™ magazine and serves as an ENC Health Professional Advisor.

The holidays are filled with joy, traditions and plenty of family favorites. Here’s how to add a dash of health to your holiday season.

Make a List and Check it Twice
Include these 10 healthful holiday staples on your holiday baking shopping list:

Oats-Boost fiber by substituting oats for up to 1/3 of the flour called for in most baking recipes.
Dark Chocolate-Choose chocolate, containing 70% or more cacao, as a rich source of antioxidants.
Dried Fruits-Toss dried raisins or cranberries into cookie and scone recipes to add natural sweetness.
Canola Oil-Reduce saturated fat by baking with mild liquid oils rather than solid fats whenever possible.
White Whole Wheat Flour-Substitute white whole wheat flour for an equal amount of all-purpose flour to boost whole grains.
Eggs-Use grade A large eggs unless otherwise specified in baking recipes.
Citrus Fruits-
Add oranges, lemons and clementines to holiday gift baskets.
Nuts-
Serve almonds, pistachios and walnuts as a crunchy snack mix or use them in classic cookie recipes.
Nutmeg-
It only takes a dash of this potent spice to give eggnog its signature flavor.
Coarse White Sugar-
Add a light sprinkle of coarse sugar crystals in place of calorie-dense icings.

Whip up a batch of festive, holiday Eggnog.

Classic Cooked Eggnog

Makes 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 4 cups milk, divided
  • 1  tsp. vanilla
  • ½ tsp. ground nutmeg

Beat eggs, sugar and salt in large heavy saucepan until blended. Stir in 2 cups milk.

Cook over low heat, stirring constantly but gently, until mixture is just thick enough to just coat a metal spoon with a thin film and temperature reaches 160°F, about 15 minutes. Do not allow to boil. Remove from heat immediately.

Stir in remaining 2 cups milk and vanilla. Refrigerate, covered, until thoroughly chilled, several hours or overnight.

Tips:

  • For perfectly smooth eggnog: Pour through a sieve before chilling.
  • Spice it up: 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg can be stirred into custard before chilling.


Serve these scones as part of a holiday breakfast or brunch.

Orange-Cranberry Scones
Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose or white whole wheat flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 5 tablespoons butter, chilled
  • 1/2 cup dried, sweetened cranberries
  • 1/3 cup evaporated 2% milk
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 large egg
  • the grated zest of 1 large orange
  • ¼ cup coarse crystal sugar

Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, sift together the first 5 dry ingredients.
Add butter, rubbing it between thumb and fingers until mixture resembles coarse meal.
Mix in cranberries.
In a separate bowl, whisk together milk, orange juice, egg, and orange zest. Add to the flour mixture and stir to create dough.
Transfer to a floured work surface, knead and shape it into a 1/2″-thick round, about 8″ across.
Transfer the round to the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse sugar. Slice into 10 wedges. Separate the wedges slightly. Bake them for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven, and serve immediately.

Anna Shlachter MS, RDN, LDN

Anna Shlachter, MS, RDN, LDN is the Program Manager, Nutrition Research and Communications at the Egg Nutrition Center

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