Welcome to the second article in our series on how to give your fattening, high-calorie holiday recipes a delicious makeover—turning them into nutritious, healthful dishes that are good enough to take seconds and even thirds with no guilt! (To read the first article in the series, click here.)

Today, a classically-trained chef who also happens to be a registered dietitian, Jackie Newgent, gives Daily Health News readers healthful renditions of two holiday classics—eggnog and potato pancakes—from her new book, 1,000 Low-Calorie Recipes.

These recipes are so scrumptious that your guests may not even realize that these dishes are good for them!


Who doesn’t love dipping a ladle into a punch bowl full of sweet, creamy eggnog? The problem is, the traditional (alcoholic) version of this rich delight is one of the biggest calorie traps of the holiday season—220 calories per one-half cup serving! Our new version, below, trades heavy cream for almond milk, so it has 45% fewer calories per serving. (That means a four-ounce serving, which is enough for most folks and is also alcoholic, will cost you just 120 calories and it’ll have only 2.5 grams of fat—rather than 10.) If you opt to make this new version without alcohol, it contains the same amount of fat but only 70 calories per four-ounce serving.


5 large eggs

¼ cup turbinado sugar (a less processed form of sugar, it has a stronger flavor than refined sugar so you can add less of it to foods you prepare. You can find it on your grocer’s shelf.)

¼ teaspoon sea salt (sea salt is ideal, for a stronger flavor, but regular table salt also works)

1 quart plain almond milk or unsweetened coconut milk beverage

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon pure almond extract

8 ounces 80-proof brandy (optional)

4 ounces 80-proof light rum (optional)

4 ounces 100% peach or apricot nectar

1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, or to taste

1. Whisk together the eggs, sugar, and salt in a large saucepan. Stir in two cups of the almond milk. Simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved and mixture is steaming and slightly thickened, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat. (Note: If the eggs start to look “scrambled” while you’re cooking, remove the pan from the heat, it’s ready.)

2. Stir in the remaining two cups of almond milk and the extracts. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least four hours or overnight.

3. Just before serving, strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a punch-style bowl or glass pitcher, and add the nectar and the brandy and rum (if you desire). Stir.

4. Ladle or pour into individual punch cups, sprinkle with the nutmeg, and serve.


Compared with traditional ‘latkes,’ these purple potato pancakes are more nutrient-rich by way of the purple potatoes, whole-grain flour and yogurt. The pancakes are super thick so they won’t absorb as much of the oil, proportional to the amount of potato, as thin latkes will. One 76-gram traditional homemade potato pancake is 204 calories and has 11.2 grams of fat. But one of these new-and-improved purple potato pancakes, which is one-quarter cup in volume and 2½ inches thick in diameter, is only 120 calories and has only 5 grams of fat.


4 large purple potatoes (or roughly 2.5 pounds) or 2 pounds purple baby creamer potatoes, unpeeled and scrubbed

1 large sweet onion, peeled

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

4 scallions, white and green parts, very thinly sliced

½ cup whole-wheat pastry flour

¼ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1¼ teaspoons sea salt, or to taste (sea salt is ideal, for a stronger flavor, but regular table salt also works)

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary or ¼ teaspoon crushed dried rosemary

? teaspoon ground cayenne, or to taste

½ cup unrefined peanut or grapeseed oil

? cup fat-free or low-fat plain Greek yogurt (or plain soy-based yogurt or unsweetened applesauce)

1. Quarter the potatoes if large and add to a food processor. Cover and pulse to coarsely grate. Transfer to a large clean kitchen towel. (Note: The purple potatoes can stain.) Quarter the onion, coarsely grate, and transfer to the towel with the potatoes. Squeeze the mixture well in the towel over the sink to remove excess liquid.

2. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl, and add the eggs, scallions, flour, parsley, salt, pepper, rosemary, and cayenne. Stir gently to combine.

3. Form the potato mixture into 14 packed balls, about ¼ rounded cup each. Heat two tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place seven of the balls into the pan and gently flatten them into about 2½ inch disks. Cook, gently flipping only once, until well browned on both sides, about nine minutes on the first side and six minutes on the second side. Transfer to paper towels to drain. If desired, keep the first batch of potato pancakes warm in a 200°F oven. Cook remaining pancakes with the remaining oil.

4. Serve warm topped with a dollop of the yogurt or unsweetened applesauce. Garnish with additional sliced scallion or tiny fresh rosemary sprigs, if desired.

If you missed part one of our healthier holiday foods series, “Nutritious (But Mouthwatering!) Thanksgiving Recipies,” don’t worry! You can read it here.