Thanksgiving Side Swap: Half the Fat, Same Great Taste
Everyone loves to indulge in a little comfort food, especially during the holidays. But did you know that the average American consumes 4,500 calories on Turkey Day and gains 1-2 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year? Yikes!
Thankfully, you can still have your stuffing, without overstuffing yourself, by making a few simple ingredient swaps. Here are six clever switches to cut the calories, fat, sugar and sodium without sacrificing taste:
1.Green Bean Casserole—>Green Beans in Creamy Mushroom Sauce
Despite having the name of a vegetable in its title, green bean casserole cannot be classed as a health food. In fact, traditional takes on the dish are full of sodium and fat, thanks to its canned soup and fried onion ingredients. To skim off the calories and your salt intake, switch to green beans coated in a creamy mushroom sauce instead. They’re vegan, low sodium and high in fiber and taste.
2.Sweet Potatoes with Brown Sugar or Marshmallow—> Sweet Potatoes and Goat Cheese
Sweet potatoes are often considered a healthy alternative to traditional mashed potatoes, but once you pile on the sugar or marshmallow topping, the vitamin-boosting benefits become null. Time to modify mom’s recipe! To craft a similar smooth and creamy sweet potato side, try goat cheese instead. The suggested serving (half a cup) is only 96 calories and full of vitamin C, potassium and fiber.
3.A Heaping Mound of Stuffing—>Portion-Controlled Stuffins
Not every side requires a full swap—you can use portion control to cut back on calories as well—like these Stuffins (stuffing muffins). Full of the same sweet and savory ingredients as traditional stuffing, Stuffins shake out to be only 80 calories each, unlike the mystery amount you’re used to spooning onto your plate. Plus, they’re adorable and make a great addition to any tablescape.
4.Canned Cranberry Sauce—>Fresh Cranberry Sauce
Sure, it’s easy to cut cranberry sauce out of the can and slide it onto a serving platter. But you’re not doing yourself or your guests any good—canned cranberry sauce contains crazy high levels of sugar. Thankfully, there’s a very simple swap to be made. Cranberries are naturally healthy and chock full of vitamins and antioxidants. By making your own sauce with natural sugars like honey and citrus zest, homemade cranberry sauce has half the amount of sugar as it’s canned counterpart, keeps all of the health benefits intake and takes only 30 minutes to make.
5.Brussels Sprouts with Bacon—>Creamy Mustard Brussels Sprouts
It’s a crowd pleaser—crispy, crunchy Brussels sprouts cooked in bacon fat. But as you’re reading this, you’re probably realizing just how bad it is for you (hint—it usually contains more than 400 calories per one cup serving). Mix it up this Turkey day by serving a mustard Brussels sprout salad instead. The superfood side has half the calories without skimping on flavor and is Whole30-compliant and vegan.
6.Pecan Pie—>Pumpkin Pie
You can have your pie and eat it too…so long as it’s not pecan. You might be surprised to find that a normal serving size (1/8th of the pie) of a pecan pie will cost you around 500 calories! After consuming a dinners-worth of calories, it’s probably not the best choice. Instead, opt for pumpkin pie, which is around 300 calories per slice—sans whip cream and ice cream, of course!
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