The typical holiday plate is usually a carb fest of mashed potatoes, stuffing, rolls, and pie. There’s nothing wrong with going all out, but if you’re watching your waistline, and want to think outside the “starch” box, try some alternatives to your favorite sides that you may end up loving even more!
Instead of potatoes, try substituting all or half with mashed parsnips, or cauliflower. When steamed until tender, they yield a creamy texture and lighten the glycemic load. They can be seasoned the same way with salt, pepper, and a bit of cream for a silky alternative.
Even though sweet potatoes are packed with vitamin A, potassium, and fiber, they are still on the higher end in terms of carbohydrate load. Rutabegas, butternut squash, and pumpkin are also rich in nutrients and can be used in place of a sweet potato. A one cup serving of these vegetables is under 100 calories, which means you can load up without the food coma.
Stuffing can easily be made lighter combining nuts like almonds, or walnuts, with herbs, and dried fruit. If you can find it, “Paleo” or low carb bread such as Julian Bakery products that can be used as you would regular bread.
For dessert, skip the pastry crust, and make stuffed baked apples, or pumpkin mousse. Use unrefined sugar alternatives like maple syrup, or dates for a natural sweetness, or use stevia. Remember with stevia, a little goes a long way, I learned that from personal experience! Make a compote, or fruit salad using citrus, persimmons, and pomegranates for a refreshing end to the meal.
If you’re following a low-carb lifestyle, there’s no need to sacrifice flavor. It’s all about taking your signature recipes, and finding figure friendly alternatives that will even please the traditionalists at your holiday table!