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4 secrets to better sweet potato casserole

By Hilary Meyer, November 22, 2011 - 3:37pm

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Traditionally topped with marshmallows and containing upwards of a stick of butter, sweet potato casserole is one decadent side dish that can become too decadent in a hurry. I want to indulge, but not at that fat- and calorie-laden price. I think EatingWell’s healthy sweet potato casserole is even more delicious than traditional sweet potato casserole recipes and will leave me room for pumpkin pie too. Read on to find out our 4 secrets for making healthier sweet potato casserole.

Traditional Sweet Potato Casserole
• 460 calories
• 16 g fat
• 4.5 g saturated fat
• 3 g fiber
• 270 mg sodium

EatingWell Sweet Potato Casserole
• 242 calories
• 10 g fat
• 2 g saturated fat
• 4 g fiber
• 170 mg sodium

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1. Use Less Butter, Boost Healthy Flavors
We added honey and orange zest to liven up the flavor so we could cut back on less-healthy ingredients like butter. This saved us 7 grams of fat per serving and 4 grams of saturated fat.

2. Ditch the Marshmallows to Make a Healthier Topping
We skipped the marshmallows and made a topping of our own with pecans, brown sugar and whole-wheat flour. It boosts fiber and shaved off nearly 200 calories a serving.

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3. Keep Portion Size in Check
To keep the calories reasonable, we start with a smaller amount of potatoes. This yields about 1/2-cup serving size for each person, which is plenty, especially considering all the other food on a Thanksgiving menu.

4. Cut Back on Added Sugar
Traditional sweet potato casserole can taste more like a dessert than a side dish. We think sweet potatoes are sweet enough by nature, so there’s no need to pile on the sugar. In our recipe, we enhance the flavor by adding just a tablespoon of honey to the casserole itself and only 1/3 cup brown sugar to the topping. A dash of vanilla also gives it a confectionery flavor without adding additional calories. The casserole will still be plenty sweet but it won’t taste like dessert. Leave that to the pie at the end of the meal.

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Get the Recipe: Sweet Potato Casserole

How do you make your sweet potato casserole? Tell us what you think below.

TAGS: Hilary Meyer, Healthy Cooking Blog, Holidays, Recipe Makeover, Thanksgiving

Hilary Meyer
Hilary Meyer develops and tests healthy recipes in the EatingWell Test Kitchen. She is a graduate of New England Culinary Institute.

Hilary asks: How do you make your sweet potato casserole?

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