A group of people gather at a table for a holiday dinner.
Save on calories without skimping on the flavor with these six tips worth savoring. (For Spectrum Health Beat)

If you’re cooking for the holidays, you don’t want to plump up your guests so they resemble the man with the bowl-full-of-jelly belly.

Try these simple swaps that will leave you lean on calories but long on taste:

  • Instead of a pure bread-based stuffing, use less bread and add in vegetables or fruits. Apples or cranberries are delicious vitamin-packed choices. And instead of straight chicken broth, try a low sodium version, vegetable broth or even applesauce to flavor and keep the stuffing moist.
  • Make your gravy the night before and refrigerate. This way, after it cools, you can skim off the fat, saving a whopping 56 grams of fat per cup.
  • If you remove the skin before serving the turkey, you’ll save 11 grams of saturated fat on an average portion (3 ounces, or about the size of a deck of playing cards).
  • Mounds of mashed potatoes are usually the hit of a holiday feast, but the calories don’t have to be so mountainous. Use low-fat milk and chicken broth instead of whole milk or cream. You may also want to try a creamy cheese like brie or Camembert to boost flavor. Want more fiber and vitamins? Leave the skin on.
  • For a healthier green bean casserole, use fresh (or frozen) green beans with potatoes instead of creamed soup. Swap toasted almonds for the onion rings.
  • Instead of calorie congested confections, try this healthy and colorful dessert—thread skewers with red and green fruits such as grapes, strawberries, kiwi, red raspberries, honeydew melon and watermelon. You’ll stick with holiday colors but without the holiday calories.