How To Make Healthy Southern-Style Meals

By Leland • Food, General, Health • 16 Jun 2017

When it comes to making scrumptious meals, Southern folks know how to do it right. It’s hard to resist fried catfish, a pulled pork sandwich or shrimp and buttery grits. Unfortunately, according to registered dietician Beth Fontenot, a study found that “Those who ate a Southern diet most often had a 56 percent higher risk of heart disease than those who ate Southern foods less frequently.”
So, eating a Southern diet tastes good, but it’s not good for you. What are you supposed to do? The great news is that you can eat yummy Southern meals with a few tweaks to make them healthier.

First Things First

  • Use only low-fat or non-fat milk and lite mayonnaise.
  • Cut the butter in half, or better yet, use none at all.
  • Substitute plain yogurt for sour cream.
  • Use cooking spray or heart-healthy oils.
  • Make your own salad dressings and sauces using low-fat, healthier ingredients.
  • Buy the leanest meats.
  • Add flavor, not fat, by experimenting with a variety of seasonings.

 

Varied, Interesting Menu

You don’t have to feel deprived. Instead of fried catfish, you can cheat by dipping the fish in low-fat milk, coating it with panko breadcrumbs then baking it to crispy perfection. Or, coat the fish with a layer of lite mayonnaise, roll it in cornmeal and brown it in a hot skillet.

Instead of denying yourself Southern-style foods, use low-fat ingredients in recipes for deviled eggs, coleslaw, and bean salad. You can use your favorite recipes by exchanging the higher fats and calories with heart-healthy, lower calorie choices.

Peanut butter is a Southern staple. Replace a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with sliced apples or celery and peanut butter. To really go all out and still be healthy, layer peanut butter on a rice cake topped with sliced bananas.

Dessert & Beverage

Best of all, you don’t have to skip dessert. Substitute those high-fat cobblers and fried pies with baked apples and peaches, sprinkled with stevia and cinnamon then topped with a dollop of lite vanilla yogurt.

You can even enjoy sweet tea by sweetening it with stevia or agave nectar, then adding some fresh mint leaves to really kick it up a notch.

As you begin making healthy changes to your Southern meals, you’ll find that you can enjoy those tastes without all the extra fat and calories. Your heart will thank you.

About the author: Carrie is a guest contributor from The Cuthbert House Inn, a Southern-style bed and breakfast in Beaufort, South Carolina.

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