Forks in the Road: Food and Travel in Central PA - A Community Blog

Adrienne Wolter shares local restaurant reviews, day trips and cooking adventures

7 Skinnier Comfort Foods

Written by Adrienne Wolter, Community Blogger | Oct 20, 2014 7:27 AM

We all crave our favorite comfort foods. These foods help boost our moods as we’re indulging in them, but then we often feel guilty afterwards because of how unhealthy they can be for us. However, not all comfort foods have to be unhealthy. By simply changing a few ingredients, your favorite comfort foods can become healthier or lighter options that will both satisfy your cravings and allow you to keep up with your healthy diet. Check out these seven healthy common comfort foods below:


Photo by Mr T in DC

1. Lite Mac and Cheese

Most people start loving mac and cheese at a very young age and continue loving it throughout the rest of their lives. You should be able to feel good about eating it instead of worrying about how it could ruin your diet. Instead of using regular macaroni, use whole wheat macaroni to add some healthy fiber, which keeps you fuller longer. Cheese can also rack up the calories and fat content, so use a reduced-fat cheese of your choice instead.

This recipe also includes whole wheat bread crumbs, so if you’re looking to add a crispy healthy topping, look no further. This recipe doesn’t even include butter. Nonfat Greek yogurt has the same texture as butter but has significantly less fat. Also, although this recipe doesn’t have them listed as an ingredient, feel free to add some of your favorite veggies if you desire.

2. Healthy Meatloaf

Instead of using ground beef, pork and veal in your favorite meatloaf recipe, try using ground turkey or lean ground beef. The turkey or lean ground beef has less fat and calories than traditional options. If you also want to control portions, try making individual meatloaves rather than one large meatloaf. This site has many different recipes for meatloaf depending on the type of meat you would like to use.

3. Healthy Turkey Chili

Fall is the best time of the year to indulge in warm comfort foods, and chili is a great comfort to have on those cool fall nights. This recipe only has 264 calories and 2.5 grams of fat per serving, while it has 5.8 grams of fiber and 39.7 grams of protein! The 99 percent fat-free ground turkey is a great alternative to fatty ground beef. Plus, turkey is high in phosphorus, which is important for growing strong teeth and bones. If you’re not a huge fan of ground turkey, you could replace it with fat-free ground beef instead. There’s also no salt added to the tomatoes or kidney beans, which will help keep your blood pressure low.

4. Healthy Grilled Cheese

There are several different things one can do to make grilled cheese healthier. Just like with the light mac and cheese recipe above, it is important to pick a reduced-fat cheese. If you’re not a fan of reduced-fat cheese, try finding a cheese that has a strong flavor. This will help you use less of it, which, in turn, will help cut down the calorie count. Cheese doesn’t have to be your only ingredient, either. Mix the cheese with other items that you like that are also low in calories and fat, such as tomato slices or beans. Also, try making the grilled cheese in a Panini maker without using butter and use whole grain breads that are healthier for you.

5. Skinny Mashed Potatoes

A lot of people love buttery and milky mashed potatoes. This recipe, however, replaces the butter and cream with simple chicken broth so it still has a lot of flavor without the calories and fat.


Photo by Kathy,

6. Healthy Apple Pie

We all love to indulge in sweets sometimes. Check out this recipe for apple pie that reduces the extra crust but is equally as delicious. Try to cook the filling and then add strips of crust to the top so that the crust is limited.

7. The Ultimate Healthy Brownie

Jillian Michaels does it again. Not only are her exercises amazing, but so are her brownies. Using unsweetened cocoa powder and whole-wheat flour in your ingredients rather than regular cocoa powder and regular flour will make a difference. This recipe also calls for unsweetened applesauce to give it more flavor. There are only 86.2 calories per serving, so no more feeling guilty about indulging in chocolate.

After a long day at work or just a rough day in general, sometimes all you need is that perfect comfort food to help improve your mood. There are many more healthy comfort food recipes than just the ones I listed above. By following these recipes, you’ll no longer feel like you’re cheating on your diet when eating comfort foods. Feel free to indulge without guilt.

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