There is nothing like a heaping bowl of macaroni and cheese and a mug of hot chocolate to take the chill out of a cold winter day. In fact, there have been studies about why we crave certain comfort foods in the winter. As comforting as these types of foods are, they are typically loaded with milk, butter and refined carbohydrates, which contributes to weight gain.
Now, you lead a relatively healthy lifestyle, you exercise, get enough sleep and visit your New Orleans chiropractor on a regular basis, so you think it best if you avoid these fattening dishes. Wait, you don’t have to give up so easily. There are ways you can create all of your favorite comfort foods in a manner that is healthier.
Mac and Cheese
Nothing warms you from the inside out like a hot bowl of noodles swimming in melted cheese. Make this dish a little better for you by substituting whole wheat pasta or whole spelt or brown rice pasta. Instead of cream and cheddar cheese, use olive oil and low-fat American cheese as an alternative.
Thanksgiving has come and gone, but our love for mashed potatoes remains. Combining potatoes with cream or milk, butter and salt isn’t going to slim down your waistline. Let’s start off by substituting mashed cauliflower for some of the potatoes and trading out vegetable broth for the cream and butter. For added flavor, mix in fresh herbs and caramelized onions.
There is just no way many of us can go all winter without an indulgent cup of hot chocolate. If you wish to enjoy yours without all of the calories, here is what you do. Almond or soy milk can be used to save a few calories. By buying high-quality chocolate, you can still enjoy a rich and creamy flavor without whole milk.
Many cold weather soups are loaded with heavy cream and added calories. To enjoy a creamy and thick soup without the guilt, use a blender to puree certain vegetables to thicken broth soups. And instead of whole milk, use low-fat milk in your chowders.
While meatloaf isn’t full of heavy cream and butter, bread crumbs and red meat aren’t at the top of the healthy ingredients list. You can keep this dish lighter by mixing lentils in place of some of the beef or using ground turkey instead. Forget the bread crumbs and mix in shredded carrots, broccoli and zucchini into your meatloaf instead.
Chicken Pot Pie
A healthier chicken pot pie begins with a whole grain crust and then follow that up by using skinless chicken breasts in the filling. Finish off your masterpiece pie by adding fresh, in-season vegetables, low-fat milk and low-sodium chicken broth.
Who doesn’t love a delectable grilled cheese sandwich? The first step in crafting a healthier grilled cheese sandwich is by using a better bread. That is, nix the white bread for a whole grain bread. As to what to put inside the sandwich, choose a low-fat American cheese or opt for a cheese that has a ton of flavor, you will be inclined to use less this way.
Spaghetti and meatballs are a popular dish all year round, but really seems to hit the spot in the winter. Unfortunately, this is a dish full of calories and will add inches to the waistline of you are not careful. Let’s start off by using a whole wheat pasta instead, it will fill you up quicker and triple your fiber intake. You will also want to make your meatballs with ground turkey.