The Lighter Side Of Southern

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Hot Apple Flautas

Mention Southern food and whats the first thing that comes to mind? Fried Chicken, lard, deep fried everything. We have a reputation for eating what many consider the most unhealthy food out there but this reputation is incredibly unwarranted and I think mainly due to tourists stopping over and getting “authentic” southern cuisine served at some roadside diner.

Now don’t get me wrong, that stuff is delicious but folks who think we live on fried chicken just need an opportunity to see the rest of what the Southern heart and stomach considers comfort food. Fried chicken was a delicacy in the old south, one hard to come by and therefore cherished on the rare occasion it was served.

We eat a LOT of vegetables in the south (freshly grown!), a lot of fruit, and we drink an awful lot of water and tea (not always with sugar as you’ll see below!). During one of our typical summers, with our temperatures and humidity, its impossible to survive without taking in more fluids than a camel in the Sahara!

I promised I’d bring you some lighter recipes this month on Southern Plate. Don’t fret now, I’m not about to put anyone on a diet. I just plan on interspersing a few lighter dishes (whether it be in calories, sugar, or fat) in betwixt my regular posts.

The best place to start though, is by pointing out the posts that are already up which I do a little differently when making them for myself. See, sugar and I are not friends. Sugar doesn’t like me very much and I can only have it in very small quantities at a time. Now do y’all think for one minute that I am about to go without all of the sweet things I post on Southern Plate? Yeah, you know me better than that!  I have “workarounds” for several of our classic southern dishes and you’d never know the difference!

So lets start things off by letting you know what I do differently to the following dishes in order to make them feast friendly for those of us who are watching our sugar and calories. Before you start asking, I’m afraid I can’t give you nutritional values. I can’t tell you how many calories per serving or how many grams of sugar, fat, or protein each dish offers. It would be nice if I had that ability but I don’t own any fancy shmancy software to allow me to do that (and I detest math enough not to even attempt to calculate it on my own) so I’m afraid you’re on your own there.

A note about Splenda: In most of these recipes, all I do differently is substitute Splenda for sugar. I don’t use name brand Splenda. I buy Wal Mart’s generic version of it in the big yellow bag (It’s name on the bag is “Altern” – hard to believe Wal Mart doesn’t sponsor Southern Plate!). A bag sells for about six dollars and lasts me a pretty good while.

My best advice when substituting Splenda for sugar is to use a hair less Splenda than the sugar it calls for. For example: If a recipe calls for one cup of sugar, measure out a cup of Splenda (don’t pack it!) and remove a tablespoon.

The common mistake most people make is to add a little more Splenda than what the recipe calls for in sugar and that yields an artificially sweetened taste. So use a little less and you’ll be just fine 🙂 .

Now, how about some Southern Classics without the guilt?

Chocolate Gravy Made With Splenda

WHAT? You’ve been doing without CHOCOLATE GRAVY? Get on in that kitchen and mix up this recipe, substituting Splenda for the sugar! Its how I make mine and my kids have never known!

In fact, this chocolate gravy pictured was made with Splenda!

Homemade Banana Pudding

Ahhh, the dish that started Southern Plate! I make my banana pudding with all Splenda instead of sugar. I use regular Nilla Wafers because they don’t have much sugar in them anyway, but you can buy sugar free wafers if you like!

Southern Style Rice Pudding

Yup…I even substituted Splenda for the sugar in this rice pudding, too…Mama Reed would be proud!

Strawberry Punch Bowl Cake

Now for this gorgeous little thing, we use sugar free jello and light or fat free whipped topping, fat free angel food cake, and fresh strawberries to create a light and delicious dessert!

Hot Apple Flautas

These hit the spot when you want something quick and sweet. Warm apple pie in a crispy tortilla shell, I use Splenda in place of sugar throughout this recipe and omit the caramel sauce at the end.

My husband can never tell if I’ve made them with Splenda or sugar!


Craving a tropical drink? Something icy and cool ? I LOVE bananaritas (they are non-alcoholic!).

I mix up a batch of these using splenda in place of the sugar.

I buy my Splenda in a large bag at Wally World, and I always get generic! ~grins~

Sweet Tea: Elixir Of The South

Y’all know I can’t even remember the last time I drank sweet tea with sugar!

It’s been almost ten years! I substitute Splenda for the sugar.

Depression Bread Pudding

If you’re a bread pudding lover like me, you’ll love this recipe which uses leftover hamburger or hot dog buns! Splenda for the sugar, and you can eat it guilt free!

Marshmallow Sweet Potatoes

I often make this recipe and use Splenda in place of the sugar. You can omit the marshmallows and still have a wonderfully delicious dessert or side dish!


I hope you enjoy these lightened up Southern classics. I have several more recipes to bring you this month which are waistline friendly but I’ll also be bringing you regular recipes as well!

If you have questions or comments about this post, please leave them in the comments section below!

Hope you’re having a great week! I am SO READY for school to start back so I can begin to get caught up after the holidays!



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  1. I have been using the Sweetener Whey-Low since I discovered it on the computer about 8 years ago.
    I am diabetic and very happy to use all of their products.

  2. Good Morning, from Louisiana!
    What a breath of fresh air, you are. I love that I was led to you…so sweet and Positive..and Faith filled…You and I are on the same page..What a way to start
    the day!…Southern Ladies just treasure Family..Friends…Memories..and Goodness, don’t they. The Lord uses peple as “extensions of His very own Hands”..and He provided this vehicle for you to go about His business…..and, you do it with joy in your heart..and some wonderful recipes, to boot..In Louisiana, we call this LAGNIAPPE”..”a little something extra, for free”.
    Thanks for the Smiles….the Sweetness….the Pick-Me-Ups…We ALL need to meet each new day expecting good things to come our way…”If we can find just one good or positive thing….no matter the situation..just one good thing..then we have been Blessed”..LMB…

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