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posted: 12/19/2012 6:00 AM

From the food editor: Milk and tea for Santa and his helpers

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  • Holly Jolly Tea is available at The Fresh Market

    Holly Jolly Tea is available at The Fresh Market
    Courtesy of The Fresh Market

  • Make someone's holiday with healthy homemade pancake and waffle mix.

    Make someone's holiday with healthy homemade pancake and waffle mix.
    Associated Press


Can we learn something from Santa?

A nutrition expert at Purdue University says adults should follow Kriss Kringle's lead and enjoy milk more often.

"Milk is one of the most concentrated sources of nutrients, especially for calcium, vitamin D and potassium, three of the four shortfall nutrients highlighted by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines," says Connie Weaver, professor of nutrition science at the West Lafayette, Ind. university. "Most individuals are short on these nutrients. People can either eat a variety of foods to acquire these nutrients, or they can go with a regular 1-cup serving of milk, which packs these needed nutrients."

While we encourage kids to drink milk to build strong bones, milk's benefits reach beyond bone strength.

Milk also is a source of protein, and low-fat dairy products can be a part of a balanced diet to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight.

The recommended daily amount of calcium for healthy bone mass in adult men and women is 1,000 mg. Men 51 to 70 should consume 1,000 mg and women of the same age should consume 1,200 mg. Once 71, both genders should consume 1,200 mg each day.

So enjoy a glass of milk this holiday season just go easy on the cookies.

Festivi-tea time: Yes milk is good for you, but too much can fill you up fast. I, for one, don't want Santa feeling all full and drowsy on such a busy night, so I'll drink the milk and I'll leave him a hot cup of Holly Jolly Tea.

The black tea, developed by The Republic of Tea and made exclusively for The Fresh Market (locations throughout the suburbs), is enriched with cinnamon, cloves, apples and licorice root. It's pleasantly spiced and a nice partner for sugary cookies and chewy fudge. The tea costs $10.99 for a canister of 50 tea bags.

Homemade holidays: Christmas is less than a week away and I still need gifts for teachers and neighbors. As much as I want to whip up a batch of holiday fudge or my favorite lemon curd I just don't have the time, or the money. So I'm borrowing an idea from former Gourmet magazine chef Sara Moulton and wrapping up jars of homemade pancake and waffle mix.

And did I mention it's healthy?

Moulton swaps whole wheat flour for some of the all-purpose variety and sprinkles in a little ground flaxseed. Transfer the mix into clean jars (I save big pasta sauce jars specifically for re-gifting), write out the directions for mixing up the batter and tie it all up with a festive bow.

That's what I call a happy and healthy start to the holidays.

• Contact Food Editor Deborah Pankey at or (847) 427-4524. Be her friend at or follow her on Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram @PankeysPlate.

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