Time for a Makeover
When the weather is chilly and all we want to do is crawl under a blanket, we also want to indulge in our favorite comfort foods to make that warm, fuzzy feeling last.
Unfortunately, these dishes are usually not very healthy and can leave us feeling sluggish and maybe with a few extra pounds. Luckily, there are ways to make classic comfort foods a little healthier and still delicious.
A lot of people crave comfort foods because they are loaded with carbohydrates, which stimulate the creation of serotonin, the “feel-good” hormone.
During the gloomy days of winter, or if we are going through a difficult time, we may eat more of these foods to produce more serotonin. It also may be a holdover from when our primitive ancestors needed to eat more calories during the winter to put on an extra layer of fat to stay warm. Either way, modern, sedentary humans do not need all those extra calories, nor do we want another layer of fat. Now you can rejoice because there are ways to make those delicious meals with a healthy twist.
Comfort Food Classics
For many dishes that call for ground beef or pork, like meatloaf, chili, or spaghetti and meatballs, you can easily replace the beef and pork with ground turkey. Turkey is much leaner and therefore, has less fat.
If you are making meatloaf, substitute the white bread crumbs with oats and add some veggies like onion, carrots, and zucchini. After swapping the beef for turkey in chili, add some beans, which are full of protein and fiber. Protein and fiber help you feel fuller longer, which helps you eat less. To increase the health-factor even more, add lots of vegetables like chopped bell peppers, diced tomatoes, and onions. Spaghetti and meatballs is so easy to make healthy. Once again, after swapping ground turkey for the meatballs, use whole wheat pasta. Whole wheat pasta has more nutritional benefits than white, refined pasta. Whole wheat pasta has not been stripped of the most nutritious parts of the grain: the bran and the germ. Whole wheat pasta also has more vitamin E, B vitamins, fiber, antioxidants, protein, and healthy fats.
There’s nothing wrong with indulging in comfort foods from time to time, but if you can make a dish healthier, why not give it a try? If it’s healthier, you can eat it more often!
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