When it’s cold outside, we crave comfort foods that warm our bellies and provide a sense of nostalgia or happiness. While these types of foods taste great and make us feel good, they’re typically high in calories and carbohydrates and can quickly sabotage our healthy eating and weight loss efforts. Next time you have a craving, try these healthy versions of your favorite Winter comfort foods so you can enjoy their great taste without the guilt.
Healthy Comfort Foods to Enjoy this Winter Season
- Mac N’ Cheese. Loaded with fat, sugar, and preservatives, you have most likely felt guilty after eating a good portion of this staple comfort food. Rather than making a traditional mac n cheese, consider this healthier version, which is homemade and includes lots of veggies, such as broccoli, carrots, peas, green beans, cherry tomatoes, and squash.
- Green Bean Casserole. Just because there are green beans in this dish, it does not mean it’s healthy. This classic comfort food will set you back in your diet and is easily to overeat because of it’s great taste. Use this recipe next time you make a green bean casserole and make sure to use fat-free and low-sodium ingredients.
- Spaghetti (Squash) and Meatballs. Spaghetti and meatballs is a comfort food that tends to be high in carbs, protein, and fat, which makes it high in calories as well. To make this dish healthier, considering replacing pasta noodles with spaghetti squash and swapping out ground beef for 99% fat-free ground beef or turkey. Both of these swaps offer healthier, lower calorie alternatives without sacrificing taste.
- Mashed Potatoes and Beef. A diet high in saturated fat can contribute to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, so it’s important to consume lean proteins while keeping fatty meats to a minimum. Rather than having beef, you can replace it with one of these healthy Atlantic salmon recipes. In addition, rather than eating mashed potatoes which are usually loaded with butter or sour cream, you can make mashed cauliflower to enjoy a low-carb, low-fat meal.
- Artichoke and Spinach Dip. A hot dip is perfect for a chilly day, but a traditional artichoke and spinach dip is loaded with calories and fat which can take a toll on your waistline. Follow along with this healthier recipe and use low-fat cream cheese, low-sodium broth, and fresh artichokes. Also, instead of using chips for dipping, replace them with fresh carrots, celery, or broccoli to cut down on calories.
- Chocolate Pudding. This traditional dessert is loaded with saturated fat and sodium. Consider this lighter version when you want to make a tasty treat for your friends or family.
- Grilled Burgers. There’s nothing more comforting that a big, juicy burger. Consider a unique, healthier version of the classic burger by swapping out your meat and cheese for some beets or portobello mushrooms. Both of these taste great grilled and will significantly cut down on the fat and calories you’d consume when eating a traditional burger.