Lighter versions of favorite Thanksgiving sides

Healthier Thanksgiving sidesSure, Thanksgiving is about family and football, but the real star is the food. Unfortunately, those treasured recipes that most of us make can add up to some button-busting calorie and fat consumption. Now ready for some good news? Healthy eating this Thursday doesn’t mean giving up every cherished treat. Most Thanksgiving classics can be made lighter with a few little tweaks. And the best part is they still taste great and won’t leave you feeling cheated out of the traditional feast. Go ahead – gobble up these dishes without any guilt!

 

Green Bean Casserole

Our favorite from-scratch recipe, Martha Stewart’s Green Bean Casserole, has 174 calories and 8 grams of fat per serving.

Simple Swap: If you substitute 1% milk for the whole milk and reduce the Parmesan cheese from 1 cup to ½ cup, you’ll save 40 calories and 4 grams of fat. And no one will ever know! Tweaked version: 134 calories, 4 grams fat per serving.

If your green bean casserole uses condensed soup, switch to a can of the lower-fat stuff.  Campbell’s offers a Healthy Request Green Bean Casserole recipe that will save you 100 calories and 9 grams of fat over the original, full-fat version listed on the soup can. Tweaked version: 66 calories and 2 grams of fat per serving.

Major Overhaul: Saute green beans, red bell pepper strips, sliced mushrooms and chopped shallots in 1 tablespoon of canola oil until just tender. In a small bowl, mix together ½ cup Parmesan cheese and ¼ cup bread crumbs with 1 tablespoon canola oil. Toss with warm bean mixture and serve immediately. You get the benefit of fresh, colorful vegetables for only 89 calories and 4 grams of fat per serving.

 

Mashed Potatoes

Potatoes are fine on their own, but the stuff we add when mashing them can derail our healthy eating plans.  Potatoes mashed with butter, half-and-half and a block of cream cheese adds up to 362 calories and 23 grams of fat per serving. Ouch.

Simple Swap: By eliminating the cream cheese and substituting chicken broth for the half-and-half, we cut back on both fat and calories but not flavor. Tweaked version: 269 calories and 14 grams of fat per serving.

Major Overhaul: Boil 5 pounds of peeled, cubed potatoes until they’re tender. Mash with 4 tablespoons of butter, 1 cup of greek yogurt and 1 tablespoon of salt. Tweaked version: 201 calories and 5 grams of fat per serving.

 

Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet potatoes are such a great addition to your diet, but when they’re buried in sugar and fat the nutritional value melts away. Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows weighs in at a whopping 609 calories and 9 grams of fat per serving.

Simple Swap: The recipe Cornflake and Marshmallow Sweet Potato Casserole is a delicious alternative with half the marshmallows and some added crunch from the cornflakes. It has only 267 calories and 8 grams of fat.

Major Overhaul: Cut 3 sweet potatoes into cubes and place in large bowl. Mix ¼ cup maple syrup, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, 3 tablespoons of brown sugar, ¼ teaspoon of salt and ½ cup chopped pecans. Toss with the sweet potatoes. Spread out on a foil-lined baking sheet in a single layer. Roast in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes until well browned, stirring half-way through. Tweaked version: 185 calories and 7 grams of fat per serving.

 

Photo credit: General Mills

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