Comfort food is the food that gives you pleasure when the rest of the world isn’t. These foods are often high in calories and lower in nutrition. The good news is that you can still get the comfort and eat healthy at the same time. The comfort you get comes from the texture, appearance and finally, the taste of the food. You can duplicate those characteristics with healthy alternatives or some changes to the recipe and get the foods that make you feel good, with more nutrition and without the extra calories that add to your weight and ultimately don’t leave you feeling good at all.
Is mac and cheese high on your list?
Probably one of the easiest ways to turn that cold weather favorite into a healthier option is to add veggies and the more the better. It’s also a way to use up left over vegetables from the previous night. Of course, you can also go for healthier options for the macaroni, such as spaghetti squash for the noodles, spiralized sweet potato or zucchini noodles. Lighten up the sauce by adding a puree of steamed cauliflower and yogurt to it. Greek yogurt and some of the pasta water can lower the calories of your mac and cheese when added to the cheese sauce.
Want some ice cream that’s super simple and healthy?
If a trip to the local soda shop or Dairy Queen was in order when your face was in a frown, ice cream may be the comfort food of choice. Don’t worry, there’s a great substitute for it that won’t add fat. In fact, there are several, and they’re all low calorie and high nutrition. Simply cut a banana into ½ inch rounds and freeze on a cookie tray until solid, about two hours. You can then put the banana pieces in a freezer bag for later or put it in your favorite blender or food processor to pulse it into the best tasting ice cream that’s really simple and healthy for you!
Healthy mashed potatoes could be just what you need for those down days.
It might not seem like you could make mashed potatoes healthier and still get the boost to your mood, but you can. Start with red potatoes or any thinner skinned potatoes and leave the skins on them. Cook and mash as you normally would, but instead of just butter and cream, add a bit of broth and low fat milk with a smidgen of butter. Don’t forget to add herbs, like chives for even more flavor.
- If you want to lighten up mashed potatoes even more, use a combination of cooked cauliflower and potatoes for the dish. Try different amounts to get a flavor you like or go bold and use all mashed cauliflower.
- Grilled cheese sandwiches often top the list of comfort foods. Make them healthier by stuffing them with extra veggies. I have two favorites. After I’ve the sandwich is cooked, I pry open the sides and add a slice of tomato or put my salad on it, then close up the slices for a yummy, healthier option.
- Freeze sliced fruit or berries ahead, such as peaches, blueberries or cherries, and when you’re ready for a frozen treat, put them in the blender for a sorbet you’ll love. Add a little yogurt for a creamier texture.
- Is fried chicken a dish that says home and comfort? You can get the same flavor without the extra calories by baking the fried chicken rather than frying it. Sounds odd but it’s delicious.