10 smart swaps that will shave hundreds of calories off your holiday meal

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By Amy Gorin, RDN

Indulgent meals are a given this season. But those of us trying to eat healthfully (and not enter the new year with a few extra pounds) don’t have to avoid the treats entirely.

Instead of depriving yourself (or throwing in the towel and going whole hog on the cookie tray), use these one-ingredient swaps to shave off hundreds of calories from your holiday favorites — without sacrificing any flavor.

Swap: Butter for roasted garlic on bread

Save: 70-plus calories

When the breadbasket comes around, opt for the smallest end piece, not the largest middle piece. Then spread it with a teaspoon or two of roasted garlic, instead of the same amount of butter. (To make it, just cut the top off a head of garlic, drizzle a little bit of olive oil on top and pop it in a 400-degree oven for a half hour!) You’ll cut calories and fat and add a lot more flavor.

Swap: Cream for pureed white beans in mashed potatoes

Save: 150 calories per ¾ cup serving

“We love replacing the cream in holiday recipes with pureed white beans,” say Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN, CFT and Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, co-founders of 21-Day Body Reboot. “By getting rid of the cream base in mashed potatoes, you cut the calories. Plus, white beans, have antioxidants and filling fiber — and studies show that people who eat them tend to weigh less and have smaller waistlines.”