Comfort foods are often associated with everything oily and fatty, but you can turn them into healthy food just by replacing some ingredients, without killing the flavor. By having comfort food with healthy ingredients, you will not feel guilty in eating, and feel more motivated in eating more healthily instead of doing restricted diet that makes you suffer.
5 Ways to Cook Healthy Comfort Foods
Popular comfort foods often consist of carbohydrate and protein, with extra amount of salt, sugar or cheese. Fortunately, many comfort foods have quite flexible recipes, so you can trade some ingredients to create healthier versions. Here are 5 examples of cooking popular comfort foods with modified ingredients that make them healthier:
• Cook spaghetti with “spaghetti squash.”
Spaghetti squash, as the name suggests, has soft strands that remind you of noodles. If you crave a plate of meatball spaghetti, replace the noodles with spaghetti squash strands. The flavor is a bit lighter, but there is no much difference.
• Replace half the rice in fried rice with cauliflower.
Fried rice is a favorite comfort food in Asia, because it is easy to make and very fulfilling. However, the rice part can contribute to high carbohydrate intake. Replace half the rice with lightly blended cauliflower to reduce the calorie. If you blend cauliflower lightly, you will get small grains that will be hard to differentiate from rice in the pan. Since cauliflower has light flavor, you will not be able to tell the difference once you pour the spices.
• Make “French fries” with butternut squash strips.
French fries are favorite comfort food, but butternut squash will change them instantly into healthy comfort food without sacrificing flavor. Cut the squash into strips as big as regular fries, arrange the fries on baking tray, sprinkle with a little salt, and bake for 40 minutes with 425 F degrees of temperature. Butternut squash has dense and light flavor that will make the fries taste delicious.
• Add vegetables into meatloaf.
If you love big bulk of meatloaf but not the calorie, add chopped vegetables into the meat mixture. However, pick vegetables that go well with the baked meat mixture, such as mushrooms and bell peppers. Mix them with lean meat mixture, so you get bulky “meatloaf” that has fewer calories than the regular one.
• Bake brownie mix with canned pumpkin instead of eggs and butter.
If you love brownie made of cake mix as comfort food, replace the butter and eggs with canned pumpkin. While you definitely still eat the brownie, you get fewer calories and less fat compared to regular brownie. Also, canned pumpkin will not ruin the brownie’s flavor, and you will also get more moist texture compared to using eggs and butter.
Comfort foods must be something hearty that leaves you satisfied, and there are many alternatives to create healthier version than your favorite foods. Whether they are canned pumpkin, butternut squash or cauliflower, they will turn your comfort foods into healthy foods without disturbing the flavors, and even increasing the texture.