Lower Sugar Sweet Potato Casserole

Your Thanksgiving guests will never know this  sweet potato casserole is made with less sugar than the traditional version and is made a day ahead. 

Lower Sugar Sweet Potato Casserole has the same great traditional taste with 5 teaspoons less sugar per serving.

Hello fall! I’ve I’ve never been more ready.  For the  past four weekends,  I’ve been busy cleaning up after Florence.  But not this past weekend; I took a well deserved break to embrace the season.  It was like a breath of fresh air sprucing up my hurricane beaten yard with some seasonal items including crotons in my window box, a bright cheerful mum on the back porch and a large pumpkin in front of the garage. Now that the outside of my home is welcoming fall, I’m ready to test drive some Thanksgiving sides!

So this past weekend,  I did a dry run of my holiday meal. I was mostly experimenting with side dishes, hoping to find two that are a bit healthier than the traditional fare without compromising taste, and are also a good fit for the category ‘make ahead’.  I don’t know about you, but thinking about pulling together the  bounteous Thanksgiving meal is daunting!   There are so many items that need at spot in the oven.  How will you schedule oven time? How about serving; do you have enough serving utensils?   Is there room for everyone around the table? What chair can be pulled up? And the list of concerns goes on…

Planning the menu well in advance,  and organizing everything right down to the serving dishes and utensils can reduce the stress you’re feeling leading up to the BIG day and guarantee an enjoyable feast for everyone, including you!

Today I’m sharing one of the  dishes  that has meet my two criterion and will certainly make the cut for my Thanksgiving spread, lower sugar sweet potato casserole. 

Criterion one: healthier. This casserole is low fat, low cholesterol,  and has 5 teaspoons less sugar than the traditional version. Why less sugar? I was born with a sweet tooth, and have found that the more sugar I use, the more I crave. Sadly, as I have aged, my calorie needs have declined, although my nutrient requirements remain relatively the same. Cutting back on sweets and learning how to reduce some of the sugar in my favorite foods allows me to eat what I love , with less calories. It’s one of the key ways I’ve be able  to maintain a healthy weight, along with daily exercie.  Note: I have realized that I don’t need foods to be overly sweet to be enjoyable; less sugar doesn’t mean less taste! Case in point,  this sweet potato casserole with 5 teaspoons less sugar than traditional version. It’s  just as delicious, and how beautiful are those fall colors?!!!

Criterion two: make ahead. If you are looking to reduce the stress associated with preparing the meal, you’ll especially like the convenience of this dish. It’s easy to refrigerate  overnight before adding the toppping and baking it off  on the next  day. If  you feel more comfortable prepping it fully the day before, you can simply pull it out of the refrigerator on Thansgiving and reheat in the microwave oven minutes before serving time.   I think you’ll be happy with it either way; do what works best for you . Give this Lower Sugar Sweet Potato Casserole a try for a healthier holiday, both body and mind.

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Lower Sugar Sweet Potato Casserole

Less sugar than traditional versions, this sweet potato casserole can also be made ahed of time!

  • Author: Diane Boyd
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 12

Ingredients

• 3 pounds sweet potatoes

• 4 ounces skim evaporated milk

• 2 tablespoons margarine

• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

• 1.5 teaspoons salt

• 1 teaspoon black pepper

• 2 large eggs, separated

• cooking spray

• 3/4 cup chopped pecans

• 3/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats

• 2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees F. Wrap potatoes individually in foil and roast in oven for 60 to 75 minutes or until very tender.
  2.  Set aside until cool. Peel potataoes , discarding skin. Place potatoes in a large bowl and mash until smooth. Stir in milk, vanilla, salt, pepper, and egg yolks. Spread mixture evenly in a 2 quart glass ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray.
  3. Whisk egg whites in a medium bowl until frothy. Stir in pecans, oats, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly over sweet potato mixture. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40 to 50 minutes or until top is toasted and edges are bubbling.

Notes

If you want to make ahead, prepare casserole through step two and refrigerate over night. Procede to step three to finish.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/2 cup
  • Calories: 210
  • Sugar: 11 grams
  • Sodium: 270 mg
  • Fat: 8 grams
  • Saturated Fat: 1 gram
  • Unsaturated Fat: 5 grams
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 31 grams
  • Fiber: 5 grams
  • Protein: 5 grams
  • Cholesterol: 25 mg

Banana Walnut Snack Bars

Banana Walnut Bars are the natural, whole food way to fuel a high-intensity workout!

This  banana walnut bar isn’t  just a tasty snack, it’s a great way to  fuel a high intensity workout with natural, whole foods. 
Yesterday I did my ‘crossfit-ish ‘ workout. Our  metabolic conditioning included lots of shoulder strengthening exercises.  I could never have completed the bouts of exercise without proper fuel, I mean carbohydrate. I ‘m not a fan of the trendy train low regimen that would require me  to perform heavy exercise training bouts after skipping a meal (or meals) to reduce carbohydrate availability with the hope of  training my muscles to more readily use fat as a substrate.  I don’t see it as practical;  I eat carbs to maintain my training intensity and get the most out of my time spent in the gym.  I don’t deny that both dietary protein and fat can provide necessary energy to perform physical activity, but carbohydrate is the macronutrient most efficiently metabolized by the body and the only one that can be broken down  fast enough to provide energy during high -intensity exercise when fast -twitch muscle fibers are primarily relied  upon. Furthermore, carbs enhance my mood, reduce my perception of fatigue, and boost  my level of focus to  complete physical activity in a way that does not compromise technique (important to  to avoid unnecessary injury.)

Let’s face it,  trusting the advice of someone pushing carbs  is hard. It’s opposite of  the more prevalent message about limiting carbohydrates for health reasons in the physically inactive population.  Sadly, we have lost sight  of the fact that athletes need  high carbohydrate foods to enhance muscle glycogen and deliver carbohydrates to the muscle during exercise. If you are a couch potato,  go the low carb way. If you are active and performing high intensity training bouts, you can benefit from carbohydrates!

Today’s recipe for Banana Walnut Bars, is one of my pre-workout, high carbohydrate snacks. It’s food that’s rapidly absorbed and provides  my muscles with energy  to maintain performance.  Each  bar provides 190 calories, with a 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein. It’s low in fat so it is digested rapidly.   Not only is it energy food, it’s delicious.  I used quick cooking oats to add some bulk without making the bars too dense. Buttermilk keeps the bars moist and the subtle tang balances the sweetness of an overripe banana. Walnut oil also helps with the bars moistness and it’s the ingredient you need for a deeper nut flavor than with walnuts alone.

 

Boost your exercise intensity with a delicious Banana Walnut bar.

 

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Banana Walnut Snack Bars

banana walnut snack bar

Tasty banana walnut snack bar is a perfect way to fuel a high-intensity workout.

  • Author: Diane Boyd
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 22 minutes
  • Total Time: 42 minutes
  • Yield: 8

Ingredients

•  1/2 cup white whole wheat flour

• 1 cup quick cooking oats

• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

• 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

•  1/4 teaspoon baking powder1/4 teaspoon salt

• 1 ripe banana

• 1/3 cup brown sugar

• 1/4 cup 1% fat buttermilk

• 1 tablespoon walnut oil

• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

• 1 egg white

• 1/3 cup chopped walnuts

• cooking spray

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Combine four and next 5 ingredients (through salt) in a mixing bowl.
  3. Place banana in a small bowl.  Mash with a fork until smooth. Add sugar and next 4ingredients (through egg white); stir to combine. Add to flour mixture stirring to combine. Stir in nuts.
  4. Spread dough into an 8 x8 baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375 degrees F for 22 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Cut into 8 bars.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 bar
  • Calories: 190
  • Sugar: 12 grams
  • Sodium: 140 mg
  • Fat: 6 grams
  • Saturated Fat: 0.5 grams
  • Unsaturated Fat: 3.76
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 30 grams
  • Fiber: 4 grams
  • Protein: 5 grams
  • Cholesterol: 0

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