Can Comfort Food Be Healthy Food?
Everybody likes comfort food. It can make you feel good when you’re down, make you nice and cosy on a cold wet winter’s day and generally leave you with a nice warm glow. It’s often quick and easy to prepare as well – which is definitely an added bonus.
Unfortunately, it’s not always the healthiest option. Comfort food can often contain more fat than your normal diet – it’s probably where the full up, totally satisfied sensation comes from. Wouldn’t it be great if you could make your comfort food just a little bit healthier?
Making Comfort Food Healthier
Comfort food is delicious and really satisfies your hunger, but it is also sometimes a little high in fat and calories. However, there are some ways to make it healthier for you – whilst still retaining the taste that you love. Check out some of the suggestions below and see if they might work for you.
Healthier Mashed Potatoes
Mashed potatoes might be the very epitome of comfort food. Very filling – you might even say stodgy – but sometimes that’s exactly what you want. Not the very best addition to your diet unfortunately, especially if you’re in the habit of adding lots of butter.
At the risk of stating the obvious, adding less butter is a good way to make your mash a little healthier. But that might mean that you don’t enjoy the taste so much. You could try adding a little Dijon mustard instead of some of the butter. It’s quite high in sodium, but you really don’t need much at all, so you’ll be better off overall.
Another excellent way to make your comfort food healthier is to substitute cauliflower for the potatoes in your mash. The consistency of cauliflower is very similar to potatoes when put through a food processor – and it will look just like mashed potatoes when you dish it up (you eat with your eyes I’m told).
It has a fairly bland flavor, so it will pick up the flavor of anything that you add to it, such as butter, seasonings, cream, and cheese. So, if you are making something like shepherd’s pie, for example, you could easily use mashed cauliflower for the potatoes. In fact, for something like shepherd’s pie or cottage pie, you can make it even healthier simply by replacing the ground lamb/beef with ground turkey or even minced quorn.
Making Healthier Green Bean Casserole
Green bean casserole is another popular comfort food that is a little bit on the fattening side. There are a few ways to decrease the overall fat and calories of this dish. Start by getting rid of the fried onion topper, which is really not necessary to make it taste good.
You can also make your own crunchy onion toppings without all the added salt. Use a lower-sodium cream of mushroom soup and increase the overall vegetable content by adding in some mushrooms along with the green beans.
Think About Chicken Pot Pie
Chicken pot pie is a firm favorite comfort food for many people. It is warm, tasty and filling, but it is also not the healthiest dish around. The crust is one of the least healthy parts, so clearly this is the first thing you should focus on changing.
Instead of using puff pastry crust, you can make the filling and simply top it with the puff pastry, without actually filling an entire pastry with the chicken, veggies, and other ingredients. Use more vegetables and less chicken, and reduce the amount of milk and cream that you use.
Make a Lighter Chicken Parmesan
If your family enjoys chicken parmesan as a healthy dish, you can make it even healthier simply by using whole wheat or whole grain bread to cover the chicken instead of white bread. Use egg whites in the coating instead of full eggs to reduce cholesterol, and use low-fat cheese on top. If it is going on top of pasta, choose whole wheat pasta.