Nothing warms you in the cooler winter months like stick-to-your-ribs Southern cooking, and Summerville, SC, is a great place to find all your favorite dishes! But if you made a New Year’s resolution to get healthier, all the fat and sodium of traditional Southern recipes can put a dent in your diet plans. At Alta Brighton Park, we know how hard it is to get your fix of delicious local foods while watching your waistline. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of diet-friendly ways to healthify your favorite Southern dishes. Enjoy!
Mac & Cheese Magic
This delicious favorite is hard to pass up, but all that cheese and cream pack a fatty punch. Next time you mix up a batch, you’ve got a few options for lightening its load. Try replacing half the cheese sauce – or all of it, if you’re feeling extra adventurous – with butternut squash or carrot puree. Substitute whole wheat noodles for the standard yellow ones, and build the flavor back up with the addition of savory roasted garlic.
These handfuls of layered, flour-and-fat magic often contain a bevy of butter, buttermilk, white flour, and sometimes even lard. It’s easy to make a delicious alternative by substituting whole wheat flour, cutting back on the butter, and using Greek yogurt in place of the buttermilk. Check out this great recipe for instructions.
It’s hard to imagine changing this Southern specialty, but a couple of simple tweaks can easily turn things around. Simply replace the ham hocks with smoked turkey wings and the chicken stock with low-sodium veggie stock and you’ve got a delicious and low-fat option.
Simplified Shrimp & Grits
This Southern delicacy usually gets its extra fat from the bacon grease used to fry the shrimp and the chicken stock in the grits. Try cooking the shrimp in olive oil instead, and substitute low-sodium veggie stock or water for the chicken stock.
Southern Un-Candied Sweet Potatoes
A true Southern meal isn’t complete without the sweet potatoes! But all that butter and sugar is no friend to your waistline. Instead, try substituting orange juice and maple syrup for a sweet, nutritious glaze containing natural, unrefined sugars.
Barbecued pulled pork is a Southern staple that can’t easily be replaced. But trading out the pork for chicken once in a while still delivers a punch of delicious meaty flavor and should cure your hankering. By using thighs instead of breasts, you get a little bit closer to the tenderness and texture of pork while cutting down on the fat. Here’s a slow-cooker recipe to try!
For more lifestyle hacks, check out the Alta Brighton Park blog.