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Our '16 to '16' contestants share lighter versions of their favorite recipes

TODAY's "16 by '16" contestants share lighter and healthier versions of their favorite fall recipes and Joy Bauer shares her tips.
/ Source: TODAY

To kick off another week of TODAY's "16 to '16" challenge, our three participants Mary Jane Murphy, Rochelle Wilson and Ken Valvo shared slimmer versions of their favorite fall recipes. They're cooking up healthy versions of apple crisp, pumpkin spice and apple cream cheese muffins and seafood alfredo. TODAY nutritionist Joy Bauer shared her comments on what the contestants are doing right, and how they can improve.

What's right:

  • Her original recipe is 470 calories with 65 grams of sugar per serving (that’s about 18 teaspoons of sugar worth). In this new recipe, she dramatically cuts back on the sugar to slash the calories to 290…and now it has a fraction of the sugar (going from 65 grams to 20 grams, much of it coming from the apples).
  • Her re-make also has almost 2 grams of extra fiber per serving since she switched from all-purpose flour to whole wheat flour.

Joy’s suggestions:

  • When you pick sweeter varieties of apples like fuji or gala, you don’t need to add ANY sugar (or sugar substitute like Truvia or Splenda) to the apple base.
  • For the topping, I would recommend HALVING everything — this will slash the calories even further. Plus, a few tablespoons of brown sugar will do the trick perfectly, no need for extra sweetener. Then, this yummy dessert could play double duty as a breakfast — simply pair with an egg or yogurt.


What's right:

  • Original version from the coffee shop will cost you about 350 calories and more than 8 teaspoons of sugar.
  • Rochelle's re-make is simple to toss together and only 112 calories, 3 teaspoons added sugar and significantly less fat.
  • She added 100 percent pumpkin puree to the mix! Pumpkin is a great way to cut down on calories and boost nutrition in baked goods. Plus, the canned version is available year round and you’ll always find sales.

Joy's suggestions:

  • In the perfect world, she’d use whole grain flour (versus the refined cake mix)
  • And because making your own muffins take time and effort (and not everyone wants to fuss), people can also get a “pumpkin fix” by simply adding a dollop of the pureed pumpkin into their oatmeal or yogurt for a seasonal tasty treat.

What's right:

  • LOVE that he uses cooked and pureed cauliflower as the base for the “alfredo” sauce. It’s a great way to add nutrition and fiber while significantly cutting calories that would usually be in a cream-based sauce.
  • A typical seafood alfredo entree from a restaurant will run you 1210 calories, 71 grams of fat (42 grams saturated), 3200 milligrams sodium, 97 grams carbs. Ken has slashed the calories dramatically to 400 calories. Plus dramatically reduced the fat to 11 grams, while still maintaining the protein from plenty of slimming seafood (37 grams) and providing about 7 grams fiber.

Joy's suggestions:

  • If people want an even leaner dish, use zoodles (zucchini noodles) instead of pasta (or mix half and half). This will drive down the calories even more!