The holidays are just around the corner and theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re bringing all of that fattening food with them Ã¢â‚¬â€œ cookies, cakes, pies, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, and sweet potatoes, oh my.
It is hard to get through November, December, and January without packing on the pounds even if you are at your best weight, but itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s nearly impossible for those of us who chub up just by drooling over the images on Pinterest! Here are some ideas for diet friendly sides to help you beat the battle of the bulge one feast at a time.
Fluffy, buttery, and comforting, mashed potatoes are a holiday side dish staple that can sabotage your best laid plans in a heartbeat. Here are some ways to lighten up this holiday favorite.
- Create a lower carb, lower fat, and lower calorie version by substituting vegetables like cauliflower or parsnips for up to half of the potatoes.
- Add flavor with caramelized onions, garlic, or fresh herbs.
- Use low fat buttermilk or fat free evaporated milk to mash the potatoes with.
- Mix in a lower calorie cheese like Parmesan or bleu.
Green Bean Casserole
Green bean casserole is killer. With the condensed soup, milk, butter, and onions out of a can, the calories can top 150 calories per 2/3 cup serving on average. You donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have to give up the luscious flavors when you use this idea.
Skip the sauce altogether. Caramelize some onions and sautÃƒÂ© your mushrooms in a little olive oil mixed with just a teaspoon or so of bacon fat for flavor.
Steam your green beans, mix in the mushrooms, cover with the caramelized onions and sprinkle 1 cup of Panko mixed with 1/4 cup Parmesan on the top. Bake at 350F for about 15 minutes.
Sweet Potato Casserole
Lighten up this hefty favorite with evaporated skim milk instead of the normal version. You can substitute mashed carrots for up to a third of the sweet potato and used fat free evaporated milk instead of full fat milk or cream.
Add flavor with maple syrup instead of all that sugar. If you must have your marshmallows on top, try using a homemade meringue for a similar, lower sugar flavor and texture.
When you make your bread stuffing use your normal recipe with a few tweaks. Cut a sourdough baguette in cubes and let it sit overnight without being covered. This will help keep it from soaking up all the liquid and becoming soggy.
Add plenty of celery, onion, and any other vegetables that your recipe calls for to create the bulk of the stuffing. Use fat free chicken broth, egg substitute, and a tablespoon of butter. YouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll want to use a bit more seasoning that you normally do, because the lack of fat can result in a bland flavor. Bake it in a greased casserole dish, covered.
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s possible to take almost any favorite recipe and lighten it up without losing too much flavor. LetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s face it Ã¢â‚¬â€œ a low calorie version is not going to taste the same as the regular version, but it can taste pretty darn good. If you really must have the tradition versions, try to limit yourself to half servings.
Do you lighten up your familyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s favorite dishes during the holidays?
photo credit: Kimberly Jones