Comfort Food Doesn't Have to Mean High-Calorie Food
How to keep the comfort food but lose the calories they'd give you.
When someone says comfort food, my mind automatically goes to the following foods:
chicken pot pie, stew, pot roast, casserole, mashed potatoes, cream sauce and other heavy dishes that are steamy, saucy, boring-colored and thick-textured.
All of these things are tasty, no doubt and we are coming into the time of year that our tastes shift a bit, at least if you're living in the north.
Summer meant grilled foods, salads, cold sides and lighter fare.
Colder weather was meant for "food that sticks to your bones."
But it's the psychological concept of that hot, thick food to warm you up on a cold day that we begin to crave.
And that can mean that we want the food that is going to pack on the calories because of those extra textures being so calorie-dense.
For example, sauce is a big culprit. Sauce can add a few hundred calories to a meal. That might have been your entire workout that morning.
Mashed potatoes are easy to eat too many of, and are loaded with butter, cream, bacon, cheese, or whatever else we want to give it that flavor and texture that fits the role.
Think about it, who actually craves mashed potatoes on a 90-degree day?
So as we start to shift into those desires, also be thinking and planning how to keep the healthier food choices in mind.
Broth-based soups are an incredible choice. Yesterday's live video gave you the groundwork for an infinite amount of choices. But prepared and cream-based soups throw all all of the healthy benefits out the window with the added calories and/or salt.
Awhile ago, I prepared an alfredo sauce recipe out of greek yogurt. I'm thinking about designing some other sauces that are notoriously unhealthy with better-for-you substitutions, so stay tuned!
But what else? How else can we satisfy the comfort cravings?
Try mashed potatoes with lite salt, butter flavor, lower-calorie milk and garlic and onion seasonings.
Use wanton wrappers on top instead of a crust in a pot pie. No, it's not the same, and nearly not enough to qualify as a pot pie, but if you want to cut back, you'll do what it takes to just get a bite of the "best part."
Pot roast isn't too bad, but careful when making casseroles. The easiest casseroles out there often use canned soup. Choose the low sodium versions and season it yourself. The amount of sodium in most regular soups is astronomical. With high cholesterol being so prevelant in our society, low salt options for anything is a must.
And last but not least, channel into your inner homebody and relish the idea of home-cooked meals. The aroma of it cooking, the extra warmth the oven brings into the house, the leftovers.
Prepare it yourself.
And I'm not talking about boxed dinners from the freezer aisles.
Only then do you really know what you're eating, how much added fat, sauce, cheese, salt and chemicals and other things that challenge your body, rather than nourish it naturally.
Remember that you are what you eat.
Rememer that your vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that you comsume are there to help you, keep you satisfied, healthy, and energetic. Crap food doesn't energize you well.
The more refined foods are, the less materials they contain to actually help you.
And then your foods don't really comfort you anymore...
So, start thinking about how this fall and winter you can eat some amazing foods that you can cook, quickly, easily and with leftovers. If you're stumped for ideas, or just wanna pick my brain for prepping ideas, throw me an email!