As the weather becomes cooler and the sun goes down earlier, families turn to comfort food to help make staying in a bit easier. Stress can also lead to craving foods that bring comfort, yet are not good for your health.
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Here is a list of 15 healthy meals that are alternatives to your favorite comfort foods:
1. Chicken and Dumplings – Instead, try a mushroom and gluten-free dumplings. Mushrooms give a “meaty” taste to most dishes and are much better for you.
2. Nachos – Try cheesy cauliflower nachos. Grill the cauliflower florets and add lots of cheese, veggies, and your favorite taco or hot sauce.
3. Pasta – Switch the regular pasta noodles with zucchini noodles or other plant-based noodles. Experiment with a variety of flavorful sauces.
4. Bibimbap – This Korean dish is a bowl full of delicious goodness. To make it healthier, adjust the base with quinoa or other grains instead of the typical noodles or rice. Add more veggies and a sauce with less or no salt.
5. Mac and Cheese – A staple of comfort food menus everywhere. Use butternut squash noodles and plant-based milk for a rich, creamy side dish.
6. Pizza – Everyone loves pizza night. Start the switch to a healthier meal with a cauliflower or zucchini crust. Add a ton of veggies and a high-quality cheese to create a new favorite.
7. Stir Fry – Another takeout staple for many families. Create your delicious stir fry with sweet potato or squash noodles, a less salty sauce, and lots of fresh vegetables.
8. Tomato Soup – A winter lunch to warm the soul. Instead of the can, slow roast tomatoes and add a bit of basil for a creamy hearty soup.
9. Gnocchi – A primary dish of Italians everywhere. Switch the little pillow dumplings for cauliflower gnocchi for a healthier, yet just as delicious alternative.
10. Meatball Sub – Create a “meat” with eggplant or black beans and add mushrooms to perfect a meatless base to place between a hoagie roll.
11. Burrito Bowls – The secret ingredient is tofu. When roasted with a taco spice blend, the tofu becomes the main ingredient to pleasant burrito bowls at home.
12. Sweet Potato Casserole – Switch out the sweet potatoes with a honey nut squash and use walnuts or other types of nut for the topping instead of a high-calorie marshmallow.
13. Cheese Burgers – Replace the meat with a grilled bean or vegetable combination, then top with a slice of high-quality cheese and use a gluten-free hard roll.
15. Meatloaf and Mash Potatoes – Replace the ground beef with lean ground turkey and add a lot of veggies that have been ground to a paste. This will help keep the loaf together as well as add flavor. Use steamed cauliflower and oat milk for the mashed potatoes.
You do not have to give up flavor in your comfort food to eat and prepare healthy meals. It simply takes a little time and experimentation.