Scalloped Potatoes, Lightened Up

Most classic versions of this all-time favorite potato dish aren’t very figure-friendly, especially with boatloads of heavy cream and mounds of cheese. There are a few tricks to lighten things up—here’s how.

Provencal Potato Gratin

Photo by: Tara Donne ©Food Network

Tara Donne, Food Network

Most classic versions of this all-time favorite potato dish aren’t very figure-friendly, especially with boatloads of heavy cream and mounds of cheese.  There are a few tricks to lighten things up—here’s how.

The Culprits

Classic versions of scalloped potatoes contain cups of half and half or heavy cream, piles of cheese, some pats of butter and sometimes even bacon or ham. Here’s a breakdown of the calories and fat:

  • Heavy cream (per cup): 830 calories, 89 grams fat (remember, many versions call for TWO cups)
  • Half-and-half (per cup):  310 calories, 28 grams fat
  • Grated Gruyere cheese (per cup):  450 calories, 35 grams fat (again, many recipes call for two cups)
  • Butter (per tablespoon):  100 calories, 12 grams fat
  • Bacon (3 ounces): 450 calories, 36 grams fat

On top of the ingredients listed above, don’t forget the star ingredient — the potatoes, of course.  If the recipe serves 6, this would bring the calories to at least 550 and 40 grams of fat per serving.

Simple Swaps
There are several ways to lighten things up.  Here are some ideas:
  • Instead of heavy cream use a combination of whole and low fat (1 percent) milk. Using half-and-half will save you more than 50 percent of the calories over using heavy cream or use a combo of the two.
  • Instead of drowning your potatoes in cheese, use about 1 to 2 tablespoons per person. Choose Gruyere, Swiss or Parmesan -- a sprinkle goes a long way.
  • Instead of bacon or ham, choose Canadian or turkey bacon and aim for about 1/2-ounce portions per person or just skip the meat altogether.
Recipes to try:
TELL US: How do you lighten up your scalloped potatoes?

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

Next Up

And Now, a Toast...

Have some fun at your next dinner party and serve a cheese course with toast shaped like goats, cows and sheep to match each cheese.

Get Custom Cheese Slices

Hot Tips for cooking with cheese from Food Network Kitchens' Katherine Alford: Instead of buying presliced cheese in packages, hit the deli counter to find more interesting cheeses.

Boost Your Immunity! Eat These 5 Foods

Beat cold and flu season with these five immune-boosting foods. More healthy tips like these at Food Network.

But I Just Want Some Pizza!?!

Pizza is many folks' an on-the-go lunch or dinner choice and a staple at kids' birthday parties. I’m not one to resist a tempting slice (it’s my favorite food, second to chocolate), but I can enjoy one without overindulging -- here’s how.

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Cheese (Plus 10 Cheesy Recipes)

Is cheese a staple ingredient of your menus? Here are some nutrition tips, a couple insights and, of course, some healthy cheese recipes.

Just the Facts: Melting

Find out which cheeses melt well and which ones keep their shape.

A Little Bit of Cheese Goes a Long Way

Cheese tips from Food Network Magazine recipe tester Leah Brickley.

Halloumi — Off the Beaten Aisle

Sometimes called Greek grilling cheese, halloumi is just that — a dense cheese that holds its shape and won’t drip through the grates when grilled.

Farro with Cheese and Herbs — Meatless Monday

I'd like to introduce you to your new favorite grain, farro.