5 Ways to Lighten Up Holiday Side Dishes


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Candied Yams

Syrup and honey take this dish over the edge.
Syrup and honey take this dish over the edge.
©iStockphoto.com/cathyclapper2

Candied yams are a classic holiday favorite for many families. Unfortunately, this dish is often drenched in syrup and honey, or even topped with miniature marshmallows for extra sweetness. All of this sugar is loaded with empty calories and makes it impossible to even distinguish the naturally sweet taste of the yams.

To lighten up your candied yams, try adding only half as much butter as the recipe calls for. Skip the marshmallows and use fruit juice or chunks of real fruit for added sweetness. Reduce or eliminate honey and syrup in favor of low-calorie spices like cinnamon and nutmeg [source: Reader's Digest]. Better yet, try wrapping an undressed yam in foil and baking it like a regular baked potato. Enjoy the full flavor of these holiday favorites, and save room for dessert.