Stories / Guides and Tips, Recipes

Lighten Up Your Favorite Southern Comfort Foods

Hilary Deutsch

January 10, 2017


Now that the New Year is upon us, we’re looking for ways to eat healthier without sacrificing taste or tradition. With that in mind, we turned to Virginia Willis, who penned Lighten Up, Y’all: Classic Southern Recipes Made Healthy and Wholesome, winner of our 2016 James Beard Book Award for Focus on Health. Willis proves that while you can’t always have your cake and eat it too, you can get pretty darn close! Cozy up to any of these recipes this winter, and we promise you’ll see the light.

Makeover Broccoli Mac & Cheese
Who doesn’t love a big, bubbling tray of gooey mac and cheese? Here, this most familiar of comfort foods is revamped with chopped broccoli for an extra serving of vegetables.

Buttermilk Biscuits with Turkey Sausage Gravy 
Willis makes a “better-for-you biscuit” by subbing out most of the all-purpose flour for whole wheat, and uses lean turkey instead of pork for the sausage-studded gravy.

Hungry for more? View our entire recipe collection.


Hilary Deutsch is editorial assistant at the James Beard Foundation. Find her on Instagram.