Sometimes you just want to curl up and eat a bowl of something rich, warm, and satisfying. But these cold-weather favorites can sometimes pack hundreds of extra calories that make you feel guilty afterwards.
But do comfort foods and healthy foods have to be mutually exclusive? Is healthy comfort food an oxymoron?
So on this rainy, windy day in October, I went on a mission to find out! Here's what I came up with.
1. Spaghetti Squash with Chicken and Bacon
If you are absolutely determined to eat a plate of pasta, I don't think you can replace it with spaghetti squash. However, if you're looking for a delicious and filling dish that will warm you from the inside out, write this recipe down.
It's 291 calories and has 35 grams of protein! Spaghetti squash is high in fiber, antioxidants, and it supports digestive health.
2. Black Bean Enchilidas
Yum. Yum. Yum. Broccoli, spinach, and bell peppers give you a few servings of veggies and the beans help fill you up. So the next time you want a cheesy, ooey, gooey Mexican food favorite, make this recipe from Cookie and Kate.
It takes about an hour from start to finish, but it's worth the effort. If you want to add some extra spice, use your favorite hot sauce. And if you want to add a little cooling effect, you can add a dollop of plain greek yogurt in place of sour cream.
3. Cauliflower Chowder
Personally, I think people overhype most cauliflower recipes. But when you're craving a creamy soup without high-calorie, high-fat cream, I think cauliflower is the way to go.
Here is my favorite cauliflower soup recipe. I like it because there aren't a lot of ingredients and it's easy to make. It's 141 calories a serving, but trust me you're going to want 2 servings, which is still fewer calories than a traditional chowder.
4. Zoodle Stir-Fry
A few weeks ago I had a full argument in my head whether I wanted to order Chinese food or make something at home. I wish I had known about this recipe. It won't save you time, but it's absolutely delicious.
If you want healthy but are willing to compromise a little, you can use half zucchini noodles and half rice noodles. That way you get the crunch from the zucchini and satisfy your carb craving with noodles.
5. Mac and Cheese
You can't make a healthy comfort food list without including a Mac and Cheese recipe. The appeal of this recipe is the creamy delicious texture without the heavy ingredients. You can also replace the broccoli or spinach with your favorite green veggies too.
Chickpea pasta is higher in fiber and protein compared to regular pasta. It will fill you up faster and keep you full. Some people don't like the texture, but it's worth a try if you haven't yet!
6. Chocolate Chip Cookies
If you crave sweet comfort foods, check out this recipe for chocolate chip cookies. You won't even know that it's coconut sugar!
You can swap the walnuts for another tree nut if you prefer or just leave them out. Most of the flavor comes from the almond butter and chocoalte.
7. BBQ Chicken Pizza
The cool thing about this recipe is that the chicken is actually the crust! So you get a low carb variety of pizza with all the taste you crave.
It's a little messy to eat but then again, so is pizza sometimes. You can change up the toppings to add different veggies or add fresh garlic for a different flavor profile.
It's Worth a Try
I'm usually skeptical when people offer healthy versions of classic comfort foods. I don't want to be tricked into using weird ingredients or replacing everything with a vegetable. But these recipes are the best ones I found for my favorite comfort foods.
It never hurts to give it a try. Maybe you'll find your new signature comfort food too!
For more food, diet, and health info, check out my other blogs!