For most of us, the winter holidays are when we’re most likely to indulge in the foods that give us all the good feels. And while there’s nothing wrong with celebrating the season, it’s nice to be able to put a healthy, modern spin on classic comfort food recipes without losing any of their yum factor (think have cake, eat it too… and not feel guilty about it). Luckily, there are lots of ways to tweak old favorites so you can indulge happily!
Cut the Meat and Up the Veggies
One of the best ways to change up a classic comfort food recipe is to add more vegetables to the equation. To do this, you can either increase the vegetables overall or simply replace meat with vegetables. For instance, rather than traditional meat-based lasagna, you can opt for delicious veggie lasagnas, such as this Slow Cooker Mushroom Spinach Lasagna or these delightful little Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups with Tomato Coulis that use Birds Eye® chopped spinach. For healthy comfort food at breakfast, try this delectably veggie-rich Spicy Shakshuka!
Make Your Faves Gluten-Free
You don’t need to have an intolerance to cut back on gluten, and doing so can help you reduce your carb intake. With Glutino® Perfect Pie Crust mix, you can enjoy any of your favorite winter pies guilt-free—perfect for a classic Apple Crumble Pie! This comfort food recipe for Southern Style Oven Fried Chicken swaps the traditional bread crumbs for crushed Glutino Original Crackers. If you crave a steamy bowl of soup, you’ll flip for this naturally gluten-free recipe for Velvety Sweet Potato Soup with Fresh Herbs. And if you’re looking for some quick-to-prepare healthy comfort food in the frozen aisle, you’ll love Udi's® gluten-free buffalo style mac and cheese and Udi's gluten-free single-serve chicken Florentine.
Swap the Sugar for Agave Nectar
Among comfort food recipes, desserts are some of the easiest to make and hardest to resist, especially because so many seasonal favorites are sweets! Agave nectar has a much lower impact on blood sugar levels than traditional white sugar. Using it is pretty simple: Substitute 2/3 cup of agave nectar for every 1 cup of white sugar called for in the recipe, then reduce overall liquids in the recipe by 1/4 cup. By doing this, you can make scrumptious winter desserts like Cranberry-Orange Bundt Cake and Cinnamon Apple Pie Cake Roll just a bit more wholesome. Agave nectar is also a great sugar substitute when you cozy up with some hot tea!
Use Simple, Wholesome Ingredients
If you focus on fresh ingredients and prepare nutritious comfort food recipes like Simple Roast Chicken and Vegetables, you can enjoy a cozy meal at home without worrying about what’s in it. A bit of fresh cilantro, green pepper, and Hunt’s® fire roasted diced tomatoes makes this Vegetarian Farro Skillet such a delight for the senses that you won’t even notice how healthy all that fiber-rich farro makes it. Other great ways to eat well include swapping traditional pasta for veggie pasta, as in this Zucchini Noodle Salad with Tomatoes, and utilizing heart-healthy complex grains like barley, as in this Vegetable Pot Pie. Did you know you can even make protein-packed desserts taste scrumptious thanks to chickpeas and a plant-based vegan spread like Earth Balance® natural creamy peanut butter? These Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies are the proof!
Eating healthy comfort foods doesn’t mean giving up the joy and satisfaction they deliver. At the end of the day, choosing vitamin-rich, fiber-rich, and nutrient-packed ingredients will allow you to make any of your family favorites just a little bit more friendly for your heart, your soul, and your waistline… cheers to that!