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Healthier Versions of Your Favorite Holiday Foods

Friends enjoying assorted food on long table

Starting in early October, I begin having visions of Thanksgiving favorites.  Growing up in the south, that means cornbread dressing, squash casserole, twice baked potatoes, and of course, sweet potato casserole.  Sure, a few slices of white turkey breast are relatively low in fat and calories, but who eats just plain turkey?  So I have been shopping around for some healthier alternative recipes for my favorites so that I can still get a little of that taste I have been craving!

  • Cornbread Dressing – I do not mean stuffing, I mean dressing baked in a pan that is cut into squares like brownies. You can improve the overall nutrition by choosing low-sodium chicken broth, adding extra celery and onion and perhaps carrots, and using wheat bread instead of white when you mix everything together.
  • Squash Casserole – I usually make my grandmother’s recipe which includes plenty of butter and jalapenos. I have to have that spicy kick, so I plan to try baking spaghetti squash instead, and tossing it with a sauce made from 2% milk, a little butter and flour, and diced jalapenos.
  • Twice Baked Potatoes – Any trick or substitution you might do to lower the fat and calories in mashed potatoes, apply it here too! 2% milk instead of heavy cream; a dollop of cream cheese and a pat of butter instead of an entire stick of butter; shredded cheese made with 2% milk.
  • Sweet Potatoes – Obviously if you fill this dish with butter, brown sugar and top it with marshmallows, you have probably kissed your diet goodbye. But don’t skip them altogether, they are surprisingly full of vitamins, carotenes, and fiber.  Instead of creaming them with butter and sugar, try roasting them with a touch of honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

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