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.
Related To:

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 »

Keep Reading

Next Up

Say "Cheese": Bite Into Big Block of Cheese Day with These Gouda Recipes

Get the details on the White House's Big Block of Cheese Day, and find out how you can celebrate with comforting cheesy recipes.

How to Use Homemade Ricotta

Learn how to use homemade ricotta from Food Network Magazine, then make a cheesy sandwich.

The Beauty of Halloumi (and Other Melt-Resistant Cheeses)

Try frying non-melting cheeses like halloumi and paneer, or use them in place of their gooier counterparts on pizza.

Healthy Pregnancy: Foods to Avoid

What can't I eat now? That's one of the first questions that pops into your mind when you find out you're pregnant. Sure, you cut out the alcohol and avoid caffeine, but what about those foods that might have lurking bacteria? Here are some of the foods I skip to cut back the risks.

6 Ways to One-Up Side Dish Favorites with Cheese — Sensational Sides

Cheesy does it, cheese lovers. Instead of taking your favorite food by the block, use cheese to improve your favorite go-to side dishes.

Why We Love Cheese

Happy National Cheese Lover's Day! Find out why we love cheese, and how it can be a part of a healthy diet.

It's National Cheese Lover's Day! You Can Eat Cheese as Part of a Healthy Diet

It’s true: You can have your cheese and eat it, too, especially on this national food holiday.

Go for Lower-Fat Cheese, Sometimes

Hot Tips for cooking with cheese from Food Network Kitchens' Katherine Alford: Lower-fat cheeses like part-skim mozzarella may actually work better than fuller-fat versions on pizza.

Grilled Cheese, Lightened Up

Who doesn’t love the ooey-gooey goodness of a grilled cheese sandwich? You can enjoy the scrumptious combo of toasted bread and melted cheese without throwing your healthy eating plan out the window.