Italian Favorites, Lightened Up

Eat all your favorites, like lasagna, eggplant Parmesan, spaghetti and meatballs, fettuccine alfredo and chicken Parmesan, with our lighten-up tips.

Healthy, Italian

Fettuccine Alfredo
Creamy, cheesy alfredo sauce lightened up? Can it be true? With a few twists, satisfying lower-fat alfredo is possible. Here's how we slim it down.

The Bad News: Fat and Calorie Overload
A typical portion of this decadent dish has 1,200 calories, 75 grams of fat, 47 grams of saturated fat and gives you more than half a day's worth of sodium. Yikes! Looking at a recipe, it’s not hard to figure out why. The star ingredients are buckets of heavy cream, butter, cheese and mountains of pasta.

The Good News: Lightening It All Up
When it comes to these creamy, indulgent dishes, it's better not to try to replace all of the high-fat ingredients completely. Instead, to keep flavor, you simply use less (much less). A little butter, cream and Parmesan go a long way.

Simmering a large amount of heavy cream and butter creates a thick and creamy sauce. But since a single cup of cream has more than 800 calories, only use a 1/4 cup of cream and then add a secret ingredient — light cream cheese! This swap makes the sauce just as silky and only adds a fraction of the fat and calories. Other options are milk thickened with cornstarch, yogurt, part-skim ricotta or chicken stock.

As for the cheese, you’re in luck. Parmesan is naturally lower in fat than many other cheeses, and it has a strong flavor, so you only need a little. One-half cup to 2/3 cup of grated cheese is plenty for a recipe that serves four people (it'll be cheaper, too).

Perfecting Portions

Gigantic servings are where many pasta dishes go wrong. Instead of piles of pasta, serve your fettuccine in single-cup servings along with a lean protein (chicken or shrimp) and some vegetables.

More Healthy Fettuccine Alfredo Recipes:


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