Healthy Swaps: Side Dishes

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.

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
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

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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