Candied sweet potatoes are a holiday favorite that often contain more calories and fat than dessert. Drowning sweet potatoes in butter and sugar diminishes much of their nutritional benefits. Instead of giving up this holiday side dish, make a version that is lower in fat but still offers plenty of flavor.
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The American Council on Exercise reports a typical holiday meal contains about 1,500 calories -- for many people this is more than a day’s worth of calories. A classic, candied sweet potato recipe featuring sweet potatoes, over a pound of margarine, brown sugar, miniature marshmallows and spices contributes to this high count. One serving contains 361 calories and almost 19 g of fat per serving. You can save about 200 calories by trimming down the sweet potato recipe.
To reduce fat in your candied sweet potatoes, use less margarine and enhance the flavor with orange zest and juice. Dice three, 5-inch long sweet potatoes and boil until just tender. Place in a baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray. Stir together ¼ cup of brown sugar, a pinch of salt, 1/4 tsp. of cinnamon and nutmeg, and the zest of one orange. Sprinkle the mixture over the potatoes and dot with 1 tbsp. of margarine or butter. Pour ½ cup of orange juice over the top and bake at 350 degrees F for approximately 15 minutes -- until the juice has created a syrupy sauce.
The low-fat recipe makes about five servings. In each serving there are 130 calories and 2.4 g of fat. Each serving contains less than 1 g of saturated fat. The low-fat sweet potatoes provide more than 100 percent of the recommended dietary allowance for vitamin A and 16 percent for vitamin C.
A low-fat sweet potato casserole offers all the sweetness of candied sweet potatoes without all the fat. A recipe in the November/December 2010 issue of “Eating Well” magazine, features crushed pineapple as an alternative sweetener. Low-fat evaporated milk adds creaminess to the potatoes, without the addition of pounds of fatty butter. Although marshmallows are fat-free, they are devoid of nutrition and high in calorie. Top your candied sweet potatoes with a light meringue made with egg whites and a minimal amount of sugar instead. The casserole contains just 196 calories per serving with 7 g of fat.
Instead of a super-sugary version of sweet potatoes, consider serving mashed sweet potatoes made with cinnamon, a tablespoon of maple syrup and non-fat evaporated milk for even fewer calories and only trace amounts of fat per serving. Baked sweet potato wedges served with a honey-spiked non-fat yogurt dip are another way to enjoy them as a holiday side dish or appetizer with little fat.