A holiday classic, the sweet potato casserole is a silky sweet side dish that can become quite indulgent. Typically full of butter, brown sugar, and topped with marshmallows, this side can sometimes be more of a dessert. If you're headed into this holiday season with diabetes or pre-diabetes, check out the ways you can make this decadent tradition a little healthier and just as delicious!
1. Less Butter: We know, we know! Where's the fun in that? Butter adds rich flavor to sweet potato casserole, but you can cut the butter back without sacrificing flavor by adding even more flavorful ingredients. Try honey, orange zest, ground ginger, cinnamon and vanilla extract to achieve the flavor you love without all the carbs and calories!
2. Ditch the Marshmallows: Marshmallows are OK if you don't use too many. But if you want a topping with less sugar, try a simple topping of nuts, seeds, and dried fruit to add amazing texture and sweetness while cutting lots of excess sugar. Or opt for a homemade crumb topping with whole-wheat flour, Swerve or Truvia brown sugar substitute and a little butter. A great recipe for an easy, sugar-free brown sugar substitute is available here.
And if you can't part with marshmallow topping but want something less processed and lower in sugar, make a meringue topping—it has all the flavor and sweetness of marshmallows and it's prettier, too!
3. Check your portions: To keep the calories reasonable, start with a smaller serving of potatoes. Plan for about a 1/2 cup serving size for each person, or better yet, make individual servings by making the casserole inside the sweet potato itself. Each person gets ½ of a hasselback sweet potato, which is plenty, especially considering all the other food on the holiday menu.
Nutritional Value: Per ½ cup serving Calories 378 Carbohydrates 44 g Fat 22 g Sodium 281 mg
4. Cut the additional 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. Cut back on the added sugar in your recipe and enhance the flavor with just a tablespoon of honey. If you don't want any added sugar, use crushed pineapple to sweeten the dish, or simply add a little vanilla extract, which emulates sweetness without the sugar to truly let your sweet potatoes shine.
These are just a few of the small changes you can make to everyone's favorite holiday side that will still keep it just as scrumptious without all of the added calories or carbs. If you make any of these adjustments to your sweet potato casserole, we think no one will know the difference and you can enjoy it guilt-free! If you try any of these substitutions or changes to your recipe, let us know.
Have questions about how to successfully manage your diabetes? Schedule a 15 min call with Kent, our diabetes educator and pharmacist. He can help you learn how to celebrate the holidays safely with diabetes!
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