BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - If you’re wanting to show thanks to your family this year, be sure to include healthier side dishes during your Thanksgiving dinner. Ochsner’s Eat Fit BR makes finding healthy recipes easy using their free mobile app.
Savanna Latimer, registered dietician for Eat Fit BR shared two low-calorie sides with WAFB’s Get Fit Red Stick, including a sweet potato casserole and a fall salad with pumpkin goddess dressing.
“It’s the last big thing to do with pumpkin and then we can get rid of it,” said Latimer.
Whether you have one big family gathering or multiple stops this Thursday, these fall recipes will help you keep the calorie count down while you give thanks for a guilt-free meal.
Usually a sweet potato casserole has about 400 calories in it and about 44 grams of sugar which is twice the amount of sugar that you need in a day.
“But this one, for one serving, it has just four grams of sugar in it and it’s all from the sweet potato, so no added sugar."
Latimer shared some alternative ingredients. These substitutes are common ingredients you’ll want to keep in your cabinet for all of your holiday recipes.
“The sweet potato casserole uses a Swerve sweetener so it’s going to be a lot less sugar than your normal sweet potato casserole.”
Swerve is a Louisiana company out of New Orleans. It’s a sugar alternative, like Stevia or Truvia but Swerve has a brown sugar substitute which is what Latimer used in the sweet potato casserole.
To prepare the sweet potato casserole, she roasted four large sweet potatoes and then scooped it out to make the mashed sweet potatoes. You can also buy frozen mashed sweet potatoes instead.
Next, she added almond milk, 1/4 a cup of the swerve and then some vanilla extract and two large eggs, and four table spoons of melted butter.
“For the topping I love a crunch cinnamon, sugary topping. So for this one we have almond flour. It’s going to be naturally gluten-free. You can use all purpose flour but the almond flour is going to be gluten-free.”
Latimer mixed in a bowl, half a cup of the brown sugar Swerve with some melted butter, a little bit of salt and chopped pecans, then spread it on top of the mashed sweet potato. She baked it at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, then covered it for ten more minutes.
“It would probably be better to skip out on dessert and have this since it’s something sweet.”
“I think a lot of people really forget about salads at Thanksgiving. The only green thing I really see is green bean casserole and that has a ton of fried onions on top, lots of creaminess to it."
Before mixing together the fall salad, Latimer roasted butter nut squash. She bought the squash already cubed. To season the squash before roasting it, she sprinkled it with salt and pepper and drizzled a tiny bit of honey on top to caramelize it. She roasted the squash for about 20 minutes.
Latimer also roasted some pecans for about five minutes in the oven.
“You can do pumpkin seeds if you want to add pumpkin to it. You can also do almonds, walnuts or you can do without the nuts. I like to add nuts to a salad instead of croutons. A lot of times you add the croutons for that crunchiness but you can get the same thing from nuts."
To finish the preparations, Latimer sliced a whole apple and set them to the side.
“I like to add regular fruit instead of dried fruit because it doesn’t have as much sugar in it,” she said.
Latimer pours a mix of greens including spinach and kale into a large bowl. She then adds some crunch by mixing in a half a bag of brussel sprouts, carrots, and broccoli mix to give it some color.
“I like to go for more of the dark leafy greens instead of the romaine lettuce just because it has more nutrients and the taste is a little bit better.”
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Latimer places the apple slices on top of the leafy mix.
“Apples are in season during the fall and winter. Honey Crisp Apple would be great in this salad.”
Next, she adds the roasted squash to the top of the salad.
“You can use your favorite type of winter squash. I like butternut squash but you can also use an acorn squash.”
Next she tops the salad with the roasted pecans. Latimer says a goat cheese also pairs well with this salad.
“I didn’t add cheese to the salad today because you typically have a lot of cheesy stuff at Thanksgiving but if you’re making this and it’s not Thanksgiving, a goat cheese would pair great with it.”
To make the pumpkin goddess dressing, she mixed in a blender a little bit of apple cider apple, garlic powder seasonings, 1/3 of a cup of canned pumpkin and set to the side. Latimer says a balsamic would also go really great with the salad.
“It’s going to have that light sweetness to it and a tanginess with that apple cider vinaigrette and then the pumpkin is just really light.”
Complete directions for these recipes are available on the Eat Fit app. Search “Get Fit Red Stick” in the app.
Download the Eat Fit app for healthy recipes and shopping lists approved by Eat Fit dietitians. The app is free in the iTunes app store and Google play store.
“Scan the items first instead of grabbing a plate and going down the line. You’re going to be more likely to grab stuff you really aren’t interested in and then it’s on your plate and you’re just eating stuff that you really aren’t wanting to eat.”
- First of all, don’t skip out on breakfast; have a light health breakfast so you don’t overeat at the later meals
- At your Thanksgiving meal, scan the items in the buffet first to see what you really want to eat
- Go to just those items, and get a small portion
- Don’t skip the turkey because you’ll want to get your protein in
- If given a choice, go for baked turkey rather than fried turkey
- Fill up on greens
- Choose smaller portions when it comes to carbs
“Calories are going to add up quick when you add in the wine and all of the breads and dessert. So if you have more than one Thanksgiving to go to, really make sure you’re keeping your portions under control and trying to choose those healthier options, or bring those healthier options."