Healthy Swaps: Side Dishes

by in Meal Makeovers, January 28, 2011

baked meyer lemon fries

Side dishes are supposed to be an accompaniment, but many favorites can jam in more calories than you want for an entire meal. Lighten up your plate with these healthy (but still delicious) substitutions.

Instead of: French fries
Choose: Oven-baked fries
The Payoff: At least 30 percent less fat

Instead of: Mac and Cheese
Choose: Rice Pilaf or 5-Ingredient Cheesy Rice (pictured)
The Payoff: A healthy trifecta: Less fat and cholesterol and fewer calories.

If it’s mac and cheese or bust, try our tips for lightening up your favorite recipe.

Instead of: Mashed potatoes
Choose: A baked sweet potato or sweet potato oven fries
The Payoff: Half the calories and piles of vitamin A

Instead of: Butter-drenched vegetables
Choose: Roasted seasonal veggies
The Payoff: Big flavor for a fraction of the fat and calories

Instead of: Creamy salad dressing
Choose: Vinaigrette
The Payoff: Healthier fats and 40 calories less per tablespoon

Craving creamed spinach or scalloped potatoes? Try our lightened-up versions.

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana’s full bio »

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