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Lightening Up Holiday Side Dishes

posted Dec 9, 2016, 6:01 AM by
According to the American Council on Exercise the average Thanksgiving meal equals 3,000 calories, and the traditional Christmas dinner more than doubles those numbers at an average of 7,000 calories! It’s no wonder come New Year’s we can’t wait to hit the gym! Does that mean we should stick with salads while everyone is indulging on macaroni and cheese? Absolutely not! This week, we’re lightening up holiday side dishes, and here are some tips from How Stuff Works to do just that:

Bread and dinner rolls: Swap high-calorie white flour for wheat for a healthier homemade bread. Muffins and corn bread are loaded with oil and sugar, skip the oil and opt for nonfat yogurt or applesauce. Try reducing the sugar by 25% or swap for low-calorie sweeteners instead.

Vegetables: Yes, veggies are healthy on their own, but excess butter and salt can negate all their goodness. Skip the butter and use herbs and spices instead. If you’re grilling your vegetables, choose olive oil and go easy on the amount. Add fruits like dried cranberries or sliced apples to vegetables like carrots for a unique and delicious flavor combination.

Casseroles: To lighten up your traditional green bean casserole, bake chopped onions and use them as your own low-fat crispy topping. Also, replace the creamy soup with reduced-sodium broth.

Stuffing: Lighten up your stuffing by replacing half of your breadcrumbs with chopped onions or vegetables, you’ll not only cut calories, but add more fiber in as well. Go easy on the butter and salt, and try adding cranberries, apples, or dried fruit instead. Opt for low-fat chicken or vegetable broths rather than the full fat versions.

Mashed Potatoes: Make this comfort food lighter by switching from whole milk to skim (or go half and half of each) and consider replacing your butter for sour cream. Fresh garlic or Parmesan cheese are also great ways to add flavor without the butter and salt.

With these simple tips, you can now enjoy your holiday sides guilt free. For more holiday meal tips click here. For lightened-up holiday recipe inspiration, click here.