Many runners, health enthusiasts, and weight loss seekers often think they need to swear off comfort food. However, with a few modifications, comfort food can still be part of a balanced and healthy diet. In this blog post, we’ll show you how by transforming some of your favorite comfort foods into healthier versions that both satisfy your taste buds and meet your nutritional needs.
Comfort food is all about providing that feeling of warmth and satisfaction, but some comfort foods can also be high in calories, sugar, and unhealthy fats. That doesn’t mean you have to give up on them entirely. With these healthier versions, you can still indulge in your favorite comfort foods, but without the guilt. A few tips to keep in mind while cooking is to use natural, whole ingredients, incorporate nutrient-dense foods, and avoid processed items.
Healthier Mac and Cheese Recipe with Hidden Nutrients
Mac and cheese is a classic comfort food, and the creamy, cheesy goodness is beloved by all. However, it’s typically high in saturated fat and calories. Fortunately, we have a healthier version that still captures the dish’s essence while upping the nutritional content. Start by swapping out the regular pasta for a whole-grain variety and then add in some nutrient-dense sweet potato to the cheese sauce. This addition provides a boost in fiber and vitamins like vitamin A and C.
To make the cheese sauce, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan. Add in two tablespoons of flour, whisking constantly until it turns golden brown. Gradually pour in two cups of milk, whisking until well-combined. Add in one peeled and diced sweet potato and a cup of shredded cheddar cheese. Cook for an additional 5-7 minutes until the sweet potatoes are tender, then blend the mixture until smooth. Finally, mix in the cooked pasta and top with some breadcrumbs before baking for 15-20 minutes at 375°F.
Guilt-Free Pizza Recipe with Low-Calorie Alternatives
Pizza is a staple comfort food that can be tough to resist, but traditional pizza dough is high in refined flour and not very nutrient-dense. Instead, experiment with low-carb pizza crusts like cauliflower, whole wheat, or even sweet potato. These crusts can provide extra vitamins and fiber while keeping the crust low calorie. For the sauce, use a tomato-based sauce that is low in sodium and added sugars. Finally, pick healthier toppings like veggies, lean protein, and herbs.
Lighter Fried Chicken Recipe with a Crispy Twist
Who doesn’t love fried chicken? Unfortunately, it’s packed with calories and unhealthy fats that can derail a healthy diet. However, with a few simple swaps, it’s possible to make a lighter and healthier version that’s just as flavorful and crispy. Start by using skinless chicken breasts and a gluten-free flour mixture that incorporates healthier alternatives like almond or coconut flour. Dip the chicken pieces in a beaten egg mixture and then coat with the flour mixture before baking in the oven. To get the crispy texture you crave, spritz the chicken with cooking spray before putting it in the oven.
Warm and Cozy Chili Recipe with Fewer Calories
Chili is a hearty and comforting bowl of goodness, perfect for warming you up on cold days. However, traditional chili recipes can be loaded with fat and calories from ingredients like ground beef, cheese, and sour cream. Instead, try a leaner version with ground turkey or beans as the protein source. Add in plenty of veggies like tomatoes, peppers, onions, and carrots for extra fiber and vitamins. To add flavor without unhealthy ingredients, experiment with different spices and herbs like cumin, smoked paprika, and oregano. Serve with a dollop of plain greek yogurt or low-fat sour cream for added creaminess without the calories.
Healthier Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe for Runners
Who doesn’t love a warm, gooey chocolate chip cookie fresh from the oven? Unfortunately, traditional cookie recipes can be loaded with sugar and unhealthy fats that undermine your health goals. Enter this healthier chocolate chip recipe that contains less sugar, butter, and more nutrient-dense ingredients. Start by swapping all-purpose flour with a gluten-free, protein-packed option like almond flour. Instead of using copious amounts of butter or oil, try natural alternatives like creamy almond butter or coconut oil. Finally, use dark chocolate chips instead of milk chocolate, as they contain more antioxidants and less sugar.
– 1 cup almond flour
– 1/4 tsp baking soda
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 1/4 cup almond butter
– 1/4 cup maple syrup
– 1 egg
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, baking soda, and salt.
3. In a separate bowl, mix together the almond butter, maple syrup, egg, and vanilla extract until well-combined.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients until a thick dough forms. Stir in the dark chocolate chips.
5. Scoop the dough into 1-inch balls and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
6. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown.
Conclusion: Indulge in Comfort Food without Compromising Your Goals
Comfort food is often associated with weight gain and unhealthy eating habits, but it doesn’t have to be. With a few simple tweaks and mindful ingredient choices, it’s possible to enjoy your favorite comfort foods without compromising your health goals. Remember to focus on nutrient-dense, whole foods and limit or avoid processed and high-sugar items. Whether it’s mac and cheese, pizza, fried chicken, chili, or chocolate chip cookies, you can still enjoy the warm and cozy feeling of comfort food without sacrificing your health. Happy cooking and happy indulging!