Healthy comfort foods

Are you craving your favourite comfort foods but don’t want to cop the calories? A few clever substitutions may help you do both. A little creativity can go a long way to create a tasty treat without the guilt. Why not try these suggestions on for size?

Cut the carbs
Many of the best comfort foods are packed full of calorific carbs – think pasta, nachos and pizza. But the versatile veggie can be a great solution to replace or halve your carb content. Robust varieties such as cauliflower, zucchini, eggplant and pumpkin can be hearty substitutes for dishes such as mashed potato, lasagne, pizza bases, tacos and corn chips.

Try not to fry
Choosing a healthy cooking method is one of the simplest ways to reduce calories without sacrificing taste. Opt for baking, roasting or steaming instead of frying in oil, and pump up the flavour with olive oil, seasoning, herbs and spices. 

Lean protein
Meaty dishes can easily be adjusted by choosing a leaner variety. Reduced-fat mince, skinless chicken and slow-cooked cuts of red meat can make healthier bases for decadent meals, such as shepherd’s pie, spaghetti bolognaise, meatballs and chicken parmigiana.

Sweet substitutes
As they say, fruit is nature’s candy. So why not add a little natural sweetness instead of loading up on processed sugar? Fructose is still sugar, yes, but fruit contains many nutritional benefits that’ll give your dish a healthy boost. Particularly if you partner it with Greek yoghurt instead of cream or ice cream; nuts instead of carbs, and flavour with spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and even turmeric. Even beetroot and avocado can star in your favourite desserts and treats. Snack on dates, raisins or frozen grapes to satisfy your cravings.

Do you have any favourite healthy comfort foods? Any tips for substitutions you would like to share?

Written by Louise Baxter

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