Cooler weather is the perfect time for snuggling under the covers with a good book or your loved ones. It’s also the time most people think about comfort foods. Unfortunately, foods that taste good and provide a feeling of warmth or security may not be so good for you. This fall, try these comfort foods with a healthy twist.
• One comfort food men want is Meatloaf. While delicious, it can be full of saturated fat when you prepare it using ground beef, veal and pork. You can make this dish much healthier if you choose ground turkey instead. Don’t be afraid to try something new with this favored food. Salsa and Mexican seasoning can give your meal a whole new flavor. Rather than use bread crumbs to bind the meatloaf, use shredded zucchini or another vegetable which also increases the “health” quotient a little more.
• What better to serve with meatloaf than Mashed Potatoes? In some homes, a big bowl of mashed potatoes is a staple with many meals. Instead of using potatoes, give pureed parsnips a try. Parsnips have a similar consistency to potatoes but an entirely different taste as well as being a healthy alternative. You could also serve mashed sweet potatoes and ensure your family gets the extra vitamins offered by these root vegetables.
• Macaroni and cheese is another comfort food people turn to when the weather begins to cool. Using whole-grain pasta instead of white pasta will enable you to provide fewer carbs without greatly affecting the taste. You could also add steamed vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower or spinach – to the macaroni which will provide additional fiber and nutrients.
• Chicken noodle soup has been served to families for hundreds of years and for good reason. Scientists have proven that chicken noodle soup is a natural healer. Not only does the warmth help clear congestion, it has components which can be found in common cold medicines. You can make it even healthier by adding carrots, broccoli, onions and other vegetables your family enjoys.
• Fruit Crumbles are a wonderful dessert that is comforting. Choose in-season fruits such as apples, figs and pears. Use brown sugar, cinnamon and fiber-rich oats to provide the topping. Watch the amount of sugar you use and it can be a terrific dessert for cooler weather.
• Spiced cider is a soothing beverage to round out the day. Rather than drinking coffee after dinner, have a hot, steaming cup of spiced cider instead. Not only will the warmth of the apple cider comfort you, the scent from cinnamon and other spices will warm you on a different level.
Comfort food is important as it provides a sense of safety and warmth on a cool autumn day. Even if they are normally laden with extra fat or calories, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy them. Simply make some changes to the ingredients so reduce the fat content and make them fall comfort foods with a healthy twist.