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Comfort foods get their label for a reason. Whether they conjure up memories of mom’s cooking, or they represent a favorite dish that you had during a happy time in your life, comfort foods have a real effect on our bodies and minds. Studies show that not only does eating comfort food alleviate stress, eating these foods can also promote fat storage.
Luckily, there are ways to trick yourself into thinking you are indulging in a version of mom’s mac and cheese without actually eating a carbohydrate-laden cheesy gluten bomb that sticks to your ribs (and thighs, and butt, and more). You don’t have to deprive yourself when you need a little happiness on a plate. We gathered a list of popular comfort foods from our twitter and facebook accounts to bring you a list of comfort food makeovers.
Check out these healthy versions of your favorite comfort foods:
- Do you crave mashed potatoes? Try mashed parsnips.
Parsnips look like white carrots and taste sweet and creamy. Parsnips are high in vitamins and minerals and fiber. If you are trying to watch your caloric intake, cut half the dairy with chicken stock and don’t add the butter.
- Do you crave macaroni and cheese? Try butternut squash mac and cheese.
This classic take on mac and cheese cuts the fat in the cheese sauce by adding vitamin-rich butternut squash. Considering that squash is in season right now, this is the perfect time of year to take advantage of this recipe. If you are trying to eat a wheat-free diet, substitute the pasta in the recipe for brown rice pasta shells.
- Do you crave chocolate ice cream? Try a cacao and banana smoothie.
Cacao is the unprocessed form of chocolate. Make this smoothie extra thick by adding frozen bananas. Not only is it great for satisfying a chocolate ice cream craving, it also makes for a great post-workout shake thanks to the high magnesium and potassium content. Add a scoop of protein powder to increase the nutrition value.
- Do you crave apple pie? Try baked apples.
This recipe is from the Food Network show Down Home with the Neelys. This easy fall dessert includes a dried fruit and nut stuffing to make the apples hearty without all of the buttery crust that usually goes along with fall apple desserts.
- Do you crave lasagna? Try zucchini lasagna with ground turkey.
Instead of lasagna noodles, this recipe from the blog Dashing Dish uses sliced zucchini “noodles”. Each slice includes only 285 calories. It’s packed with veggies, fiber, protein, and vitamins. What’s not to love about healthy lasagna?
- Do you crave french fries? Try baked sweet potato fries.
Yep, these fries are still high in carbs. They are spicy, not fried, and packed with vitamin A, so they basically beat out plain old potato fries on all fronts. If you are craving some comforting carbs, at least get the added nutrition that comes along with sweet potato fries.
- Do you crave pizza? Try baked eggplant pizza.
This blog post will take you through an east step-by-step process for turning your favorite pizza recipe into a low carb guilt-free entree. By turning regular old eggplant slices into a crispy pizza crust, you’ll be able to layer your favorite toppings onto the eggplant and still be just as satisfied.
- Do you crave a philly cheesesteak? Try a steak wrap.
This spicy cheesy steak wrap cuts down on the carbs of a regular philly cheesesteak without sacrificing flavor. Mexican cheese adds a spicy bite to the recipe. This is easy to cook for a quick weekend lunch that will satisfy the whole family.
- Do you crave biscuits and gravy? Try paleo biscuits and gravy.
This recipe, found on The Paleo Solution author Robb Wolf’s blog, is gluten-free and grain-free. Packed with healthy fats from coconut milk and organic sausage, the gravy is thickened by arrowroot powder. The biscuits are made with almond flour and coconut flour instead of wheat flour. Baked goods make with almond flour can tend to get dense and dry, but the gravy on top will surely add a moist, juicy flavor.
Try one of these recipes this weekend! I’m going to cook both the butternut squash mac and cheese and the paleo biscuits and gravy.
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