You can easily and quickly make your favorite holiday recipes in a reduced-fat and/or low-calorie way by including healthier cooking methods and ingredient substitution. I have chosen two fall family favorites - candied sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie and included tips that will keep the flavor, but reduce the fat.
Candied sweet potatoes
Cook a plain sweet potato in the oven or crock pot. Top the sweet potato with low-calorie spray butter and honey or non-caloric sweetener. My favorite is a sprinkle of cinnamon or a small splash of vanilla. Spicy flavors also complement the sweetness of sweet potatoes. Try a low-fat pepper jack cheese or cayenne pepper.
Try using cooked, mashed sweet potatoes in bread dough. It is a way to increase your family's vegetable consumption. The sweet potato adds a beautiful color and more flavor, and provides a more delicate texture.
Try roasting sweet potatoes whole. Once they are firm yet tender, remove the skin and slice them. Place the sweet potato slices on a cookie sheet and spray with nonstick cooking spray and add fresh herbs and onions, then return to the oven.
Replace some of the sugar in your sweet potato casserole filling with 100 percent orange juice.
A healthier substitution for brown sugar in candied sweet potatoes could be the Splenda brown sugar blend. However, this product is considerably sweeter than regular brown sugar, so you might consider halving the amount.
In pumpkin pie filling, use fat-free evaporated milk to reduce fat.
Pumpkin pie is even healthier if one avoids eating the end piece of crust. Some may consider this to be the best part, but it also has a lot of calories.
Try baking pumpkin pie in a glass pie plate without the crust; turns out great and has fewer calories.
You could make bite size pumpkin pies in wonton wrappers baked in mini-muffin pans.
Add canned pumpkin to your pancakes, muffins and quick breads.
Just an FYI, pumpkin is superior to sweet potato in terms of nutritional profile. It has less carbohydrates and more fiber, hence fewer calories per serving.
What do you do if Grandmother Leona brings her famous sweet potato casserole with toasted pecans and marshmallows? Just remember portion size. You don't have to give up your favorite foods. Just eat appropriate portions.
Source: Adapted from eXtension, an educational partnership of 74 universities in the United States.
Debbie Wilburn is county extension agent in family and
consumer science with the Hall County Extension. Contact: 770-535-8290.