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Comfort foods revisited: Healthy twists on your favorite winter meals

2024-04-01T15:24:34+00:00
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Healthy comfort foods (Photo: MundoNOW Archive)
  • Try these healthy comfort foods.
  • They’re great any time of year.
  • Your summer body won’t suffer.

When the temperature drops, nothing warms the soul quite like a hearty plate of your favorite comfort food.

However, these beloved dishes are often loaded with calories and less-than-ideal ingredients. This doesn’t mean you have to give up on them entirely.

We look at how to reimagine these winter favorites with a healthy twist, ensuring you can indulge without compromise.

Before you continue reading, we invite you to listen to the new Tu Mundo Hoy podcast by clicking HERE.

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Healthy comfort foods: Mac and cheese

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Mac and cheese is the quintessential comfort food, but its traditional recipe is a dairy and carb fest.

By swapping out regular pasta for whole grain or veggie alternatives, you can boost the fiber content significantly.

Nutritional yeast and pureed butternut squash can mimic the creamy, cheesy sauce, slashing calories and adding a dose of vitamins.

These simple substitutions transform this classic dish into a nourishing meal that still satisfies those cheesy cravings.

Reimagining shepherd’s pie

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Shepherd’s pie, with its savory filling and creamy potato topping, is a comfort staple in many households.

To lighten this dish, try using lean ground turkey or even lentils as a heart-healthy base.

For the topping, a mix of cauliflower and potatoes provides the same comforting texture with fewer carbs and a boost of nutrients.

This version of shepherd’s pie is not only lower in fat but also packed with fiber and vitamins, making it a balanced meal.

Revamping chicken pot pie

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The flaky crust and creamy filling of chicken pot pie make it a sought-after dish during colder months.

To create a healthier version, start with a filling of lean chicken breast, plenty of vegetables and a sauce thickened with whole wheat flour or arrowroot powder instead of heavy cream.

A whole grain or even a sweet potato crust can offer the same satisfying crunch with added nutritional benefits.

This reinvented chicken pot pie maintains the heartiness of the original while being kinder to your waistline.

Lightening up nutritious chili

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Chili is the ultimate comfort food, known for its spicy kick and rich flavors.

A simple way to make this dish healthier is by using lean meats like ground turkey or chicken, or even going meatless with a variety of beans.

Adding a rainbow of vegetables not only makes the dish more nutritious but also more colorful and flavorful.

With these adjustments, your chili will remain a filling and comforting meal but with a healthier profile that doesn’t skimp on taste.

Sweetening the deal with desserts

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No list of healthy comfort foods is complete without the mention of a sweet treat to round off the meal.

Traditional desserts can be laden with sugar and fat, but with a few tweaks, you can enjoy these indulgences guilt-free.

Using natural sweeteners like dates or pure maple syrup, and substituting white flour with almond or oat flour, can make your favorite desserts more nutritious.

Baking with applesauce or mashed bananas instead of butter not only reduces fat but also adds moisture and natural sweetness to your baked goods.

Healthy comfort foods for the win

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Comfort foods are a staple any time of year, offering warmth and satisfaction.

By incorporating these healthy comfort foods into your menu, you can enjoy all the flavors and textures you love without compromising your well-being.

These reimagined versions of classic comfort foods prove that eating healthily doesn’t mean sacrificing taste or indulgence.

So go ahead and relish in these comforting meals that nourish both the body and soul.

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