Comfort food is a part of all of our diets. It helps to increase positive feelings or decrease negative burden. It makes any bad day, a slightly more tolerable bad day. Hence, comfort food is happy food. Even the most fit of people have cheat days when they binge eat on their favourite happy food. Comfort foods generally have high caloric nature and also contain carbohydrates.
Doesn’t a part of you always feel guilty for feeding your body all kinds of unhealthy food? The answer will be yes for most of us.
We all indulge in guilty pleasures, whether its cheap humour or comfort food that isn’t really healthy. But why feel guilty when you can choose healthier options? This article helps you feel a lot less guilty and a lot more happy.
Yes, you read it correctly, fries can actually be made with the healthiest substitute of potato. Try swapping potatoes with their orange cousin – sweet potatoes. This alternative is packed with carotenoids, which are good for improving eye health. To further make your fries more nutritious, you could also try baking them instead of deep frying them.
11. French Toast
The widely loved morning breakfast can be added to your list of comfort foods. By switching to a whole wheat or broken wheat bread, egg whites and topping it off with some fresh fruits makes the perfect happy food for your morning binge. It comes highly recommended since this dish is the perfect combination of protein and carbohydrates. The protein content is moderate because of the addition of eggs and milk.
10. Spaghetti and Meatballs
The perfect bowl of spaghetti and meatballs helps to make your day better but it can also be made healthier. Using whole wheat or durum wheat spaghetti is always a good idea. As for the meatballs, try substituting the classic beef with turkey or chicken. The sauce too should be homemade to avoid any added preservatives from market foods.
9. Baked Fish & Chips
For all the seafood lovers, fish and chips can be less oily when you bake them instead of frying. Moreover baked or boiled fish is a better source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Simply dip the fish in egg whites then roll in the cereal crumbs to coat. The fish can be placed on a baking sheet on one of the racks of your oven and set to bake for about 12 minutes. You can serve the fish with tartar sauce and malt vinegar.
8. Light Blueberry Cheesecake
Cheesecake can easily be the most loved dessert of all time, but it also heavy and contains fat. The ingredients are what make all the difference. Thanks to lighter versions of cream cheese and sour cream with plenty of cottage cheese, a perfectly good cheesecake can be made which is healthier that the normal one. Cheesecakes can be highly beneficial for you since they are a good source of energy and are nutritionally rich.
7. Oatmeal Cookies
We all love the classic and sinful chocolate chip cookies but the healthier oatmeal is always forgotten. Well, we are now telling you that in just 10 minutes you can whip up the dough for these sweet crunchy treats made with whole-wheat flour. The recipe for traditional oatmeal cookies can be tweaked to use equal parts whole-wheat and all-purpose flour without losing the flavour or texture. One of the primary benefits of eating an oatmeal cookie instead of other varieties is the amount of fibre you’ll get.
6. Sesame Chicken
The Chinese-restaurant guilty pleasure is no longer the cause for your guilt. You can now make this chicken at home by sautéing in a little oil instead of deep frying it. The less-sweet sauce has fewer calories than a standard recipe and nutritionally you can add a side of brown rice to make the perfect healthy meal. Brown rice is said to be more filling than its white counterpart.
5. Mac & Cheese
The easy and ready-to-eat ‘Mac & Cheese’ sits in the storage cupboard of every household, but along with it come the extra calories. The fake powdered cheese, butter and milk adds on to the fat content. Instead you can make your own, by using a low fat cottage cheese which gives it the creamy cheese flavour without all the calories. If you do find it a bit dry, try adding some low fat milk. To top it off, you could chop up some broccoli or tomatoes with spinach and peas.
The healthy substitute to the classic crepe, is to make your batter with whole wheat instead of flour. And the chocolate or maple syrup can be substituted with dark chocolate syrup. Dark chocolate is said to be a powerful source of antioxidants. Another healthy addition would be to put some ground flax in the batter. Flax seed acts as an antioxidant too and helps to lower blood pressure. There’s always the option to top it off with some fresh strawberries and whipped cream.
3. Baked corn
Baked corn can be your perfect midday snack with the right amount of crunch and vegetable content. The preferred seasoning is usually a butter, garlic and parsley mix. The corn cob can be placed in the oven for 30-35 minutes or even cooked on the barbecue. Corn is a good source of antioxidant carotenoids that promote eye health. There are many variations to the baked corn recipe with a large variety of sides to go with it. Try all the variations to know which one is the best for your palate.
2. Apple Pie
Apple Pie is a classic dish at any time of the year. There are a few upgrades that help to make the dessert low on sugar and to enrich it with fibre, proteins and vitamins. The first step is to make your crust at home to avoid all the unnecessary added ingredients of a store bought crust. Replace the butter in the crust with sour cream or Greek yogurt. There are various alternatives to the flour as well, like almond flour and quinoa. It is always a sensible decision to cut out added sugar from your dessert, instead opt for fruits (apples) and spices like nutmeg or cinnamon.
1. Spicy Popcorn
Popcorn is indeed the all time favourite comfort food on everyone’s list. It is a satisfying low-cal snack that doesn’t need much alteration to make it healthier. You can give it a fancy upgrade with adding some chilli powder, cumin, pepper, paprika or any other spices that tingle your tastebuds. Choose a low-fat, low-sodium pre packaged variety of popcorn, or pop your own kernels in a small paper bag in the microwave.