Maybe Cookies and Milk Aren't the Best Snacks for Santa

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I'm concerned about Santa. I really am. Think of it, he's wriggling down chimneys all over the world, toting his bag of toys, and in gratitude people are leaving snacks for him under the tree. Nothing wrong with that, of course. The problem is that the snacks are traditionally cookies and milk. This could be a serious health issue. At the suggestion of Dr. Jamie Wells, ACSH medical director, I considered this aspect of Santa's annual trek, and wish to make some other suggestions.

Even though, as Dr. Wells reports, Santa is in good health and ready to perform his yearly tasks, (and of course he's immortal), still, the annual cookies binge disturbs me. Surely we can do better than that for the jolly elf.

To start with, let's consider the milk. An eight ounce glass of whole milk has 150 calories, while a glass of non-fat milk has only about 80 — try leaving the latter for Santa this year. And forget the eggnog. First, the traditional recipe contains alcohol in one form or another and Santa is driving (don't ask why Rudolph's nose is red). And I won't even mention the caloric load. I don't know if Santa is lactose intolerant, or if he might have an allergy to milk proteins, but there are products on the market to deal with those issues, such as dairy milk that has reduced or no lactose, and "milks" made from soybeans, rice or almonds. 

Now, those cookies. There are so many varieties that it's impossible to say how many calories these might contain, or how many one should consider leaving. But there are other types of goodies that would have fewer calories and less sugar than your traditional chocolate chip one. Further, in his interview with Dr. Wells, Santa allowed as how he will try to increase his intake of fruits and veggies. Why not help this effort by, for example, leaving him a (small) slice of zucchini bread, or banana bread? You could also just leave him an apple, orange or banana (sliced or whole).

Even these relatively small changes, repeated many times over Santa's trip, should really help him slim down and maintain his vigor and enthusiasm for his annual journey. If we don't do something, we might wake up Christmas morning and find Santa in a predicament like this: