Healthy Thanksgiving Tidbits: How to make Candied Yams and Sweet Potato Casserole Healthier.

Photo_2017-11-15_10-41-05_AMLet’s face it, there’s no great recipe or miracle that will make that sweet syrupy goodness we call candied yams taste like mom’s or will make you go into a diabetic coma after eating it, but there is a way to make a great mashed sweet potato casserole that will still quench some of your sweet tooth, eliminate a lot of unwanted calories and still be healthy and flavorful.

If Thanksgiving breakfast is a tradition in your home, you can replace your hashbrown casserole or smothered skillet potatoes with a roasted sweet potato hash instead of using white potatoes. Sweet potatoes have greater nutrient benefits such as beta carotene rather than your regular potato.

Here are a few tidbits for making a yummy mashed sweet potato casserole and roasted sweet potato hash:

•Nix the butter, candied pecans, granulated white sugar, 2% milk, heavy cream, sweet condensed/evaporated milk, and marshmallows. All of these items are loaded with fat and/or sugar.

•Opt into using unsweetened almond milk or 1% milk if people in your family are allergic to nuts. Less calories, sugar and fat than regular milk, heavy cream or condensed/evaporated milk.

•I use unsweetened almond milk, vanilla extract, allspice (which is a blend of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg) kosher salt and a little brown sugar in my casserole. If you don’t have allspice, use cinnamon and nutmeg. No butter. Also, Stevia is a great sweetener substitute too for granulated white sugar. Honestly, this same concept can apply to when baking sweet potato pies. Less calories, fat and sugar but still sweet enough to make a great pie.

•If you want to lift your casserole with a little heat and try something different this Thanksgiving, add a little ground chipotle chile pepper to the above ingredients. A little sweet with a hint of spicy.

•If you like candied pecans as a topping, instead of tossing your raw pecans in melted butter, flour and sugar, toss them in olive oil cooking spray, a little kosher salt and allspice. Then, top your casserole with the pecans keeping the casserole covered until it’s time for it to brown.

•Instead of making your traditional hashbrown casserole or smothered skillet potatoes try making a roasted sweet potato hash.

Peel and cut your sweet potato into cubes.Toss the cubes in a bowl with olive oil cooking spray, kosher salt, allspice and a little brown sugar. If you don’t have allspice, use nutmeg and cinnamon.

Place the potatoes into a Pyrex dish or lined sheet pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Set your oven on 400 and cook them for about 20 minutes then tossing them halfway during the cooking process.

Meanwhile, cut up some onion, garlic and peppers. Saute them in a pan with olive oil cooking spray. Once the potatoes and veggies are done, toss them together and season to taste if necessary.

I’ve offered you a few healthier options with the same great taste for you to enjoy instead of your traditional candied yams, sweet potato and hashbrown casserole. It’s diabetic as well as vegan friendly. More Thanksgiving Tidbits to come.