Cinnamon Buns, Lightened Up

This mouthwatering Christmas morning tradition will put some fat on your buns. Lighten up these bad boys by using some of these quick and easy tricks.

This mouthwatering Christmas morning tradition will put some fat on your buns. Lighten up these bad boys by using some of these quick and easy tricks.

The Calorie Overload

Walk in to most malls and the smell of warm cinnamon rolls is overpowering. One of those Cinnabon Classics has a whopping 880 calories, 36 gram of fat, and 127 grams of carbs. In the mood for a Caramel Pecanbon? That’ll set you back 1,080 calories, 50 grams fat, and 146 grams carbs.

You can shave off many calories by turning to the pre-made Pillsbury Cinnamon buns—each has just 150 calories, 5 gram fat, and 23 grams carbs. However, they’re packed with a boatload of artificial ingredients and preservatives, so they're not the best choice after all.

Homemade recipes also call for ingredients that are loaded with calories and fat—but when you make your own, you’re in control of what and how much you use.

The Dough

The dough isn’t your biggest concern. The main way to control the calories that come from the dough is to make smaller buns.

Check out these step-by-step instructions on how to form the perfect cinnamon bun.

The Filling

Here’s where it starts to get sticky. Some recipes call for 1 cup of pecans and over a stick of butter to use for the filling. A cup of chopped pecans has 753 calories and 78 grams fat. Add to that a stick of butter with 810 calories and 92 grams fat. Even if the recipe makes 10 buns, the filling alone is close to 200 calories per bun! Cut back on the pecans and butter by about half and you’re in business.

Another suggestion: swap the nuts for raisins. One cup of raisins has 498 calories and 1 gram fat.

The Glaze

Here you have more butter, milk and sugar. You can still have a delicious glaze—you just don’t need so much of it. Make the glaze as directed, just use about one-quarter less of it.

Lighter recipes to try:

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. See Toby's full bio »

Keep Reading

Next Up

Eggplant Parmesan, Lightened Up

Growing up in an Italian family, eggplant “parm” was a staple in my house. While it was cheesy, fried and delicious, nowadays I’d rather cut back on some of the calories and fat with these tips and delicious recipes.

Nachos, Lightened Up

Every so often I get a big time craving for spicy, cheesy and crunchy nachos. But when most restaurant orders top 1500 calories and 100 grams of fat, I’d much rather make them myself. Use these tips to indulge wisely.

Beef Stew, Lightened Up

Love the stick-to-your-ribs goodness of a hearty beef stew, but want to cut back on the fat and sodium? Pass on the salty canned stuff and try these tips and recipes.

Dips, Lightened Up

Blue cheese, artichoke and other cheesy dips can sabotage your waistline before the main course begins. Lighten up these dips with a few tricks; they’ll still taste fantastic.

Lighten Up Your Meat

When you're making burgers, meatballs or other ground-meat dishes, combine equal parts of beef or pork with a leaner meat like turkey or chicken.

Lemonade, Lightened Up

There's nothing better than than an icy glass of lemonade on a hot day, but who needs all those extra calories from added sweeteners? Instead of turning to sugary, packaged mixes, make your own light and fresh versions. Here are our tricks.

Tuna Salad, Lightened Up

Tuna is one of my go-to foods at parties or a friend’s luncheon but some folks drench their tuna in mayonnaise. Besides upping the calories, a boatload of mayonnaise drowns out the delicious tuna flavor. Next time you plan on making tuna salad, try some of these exciting ways to flavor and lighten it up.

Rice Pudding, Lightened Up

I was never a rice pudding fan until a few years ago when my middle daughter starting requesting it daily. Since then I’ve been experimenting with a few variations of this classic to help lighten up the creamy calories while still maintaining its delicious flavor.

Potato Salad, Lightened Up

I’m just starting to see early varieties of potatoes at the farmers market and potato salad recipes are calling out to me! This picnic and barbecue fave is known to be heavy on the fat and calories, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are my favorite ways to lighten up this summertime classic.

On TV

Food Network Apps

In the Kitchen

Get over 70,000 FN recipes on all your mobile devices.

Facebook Messenger

Ask our bot for recipes, meal ideas and daily food trivia.

Amazon Echo

Just say "Alexa, enable Food Network skill" to get started.