The Soul Food Makeover

Posted By , January 3, 2012

ThinkstockPhotos-121216525“Soul Food” is a term used for the type of ethnic cuisine that is traditionally prepared by African Americans. Many say this style of cooking originated during the slavery period. During slavery, people were given leftovers and undesirable parts of animals, which they then had no choice but to convert into flavorful meals.

Many years later, some are still consuming some of the same traditional foods, even though they are higher in fat, sodium and sugar. It’s well known that Blacks need to overhaul their diet — or face the continued, ever-increasing health risks, particularly diabetes and poor heart health.

Trust me – you can still enjoy traditional cultural favorites. But you need to limit the frequency, monitor the portion sizes and change the way it is prepared.  To demonstrate my point, I have taken a traditional soul food meal and created a lighter version.

The Soul Food Makeover

The Traditional Soul Food Meal

• Fried Chicken
• Collard Greens with Ham Hock
• Macaroni and Cheese
• Cornbread
• Soda Pop

Nutritional Facts: 1064 calories, 84% daily value (DV) of fat, 51% DV of cholesterol and 117% DV of sodium

The Lighter (But Still Flavorful) Soul Food Meal

• Blackened Tilapia
• Collard Greens with Smoked Turkey
• Mashed Sweet Potatoes
• Wheat Roll
• Sweetened Ice Tea

Nutritional Facts: 420 calories, 5% DV of fat, 20% DV of cholesterol and 30% DV of sodium

Soul Food Makeover: The Recipes

Blackened Tilapia

Servings: 4
Total Time: 10 minutes


• 1 pound Tilapia fillets (4 ounces a piece)
• 2 teaspoons blackening seasoning mixture:
– 1 1/2 tablespoons paprika                  – 1 tablespoon garlic powder
– 1 tablespoon onion powder               – 1 tablespoon ground dried thyme
– 1 teaspoon ground black pepper      – 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
– 1 teaspoon dried basil                         – 1 teaspoon dried oregano)
• 2 teaspoons canola oil


1. Preheat skillet to high and add canola oil.
2. Rub Tilapia on both sides with blackening seasoning. Sauté until cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Servings: 4
Total Time: 20 minutes


• 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
• 1/2 cup non-fat sour cream

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