Cooler weather certainly stirs the craving for warmer foods. And isn't it funny that warmer foods conjure up steaming mashed potatoes, cheesy macaroni, and not necessarily a bowl of steamed carrots? Well if your cravings for comfort foods star the good old carbohydrate, here are some foods you that will satisfy your craving and still keep you comfortable in your clothes.
Comfort foods don't have to be full of refined carbohydrate and fat. Think about the warm flavors of baked beans, veggie chili, chicken noodle soup, or spaghetti and meatballs. Spaghetti and meatballs? Sure! Try whole wheat pasta, turkey meatballs (skip the breadcrumbs), and a no-added-sugar tomato sauce like Cucina Antica Tomato Basil Cooking Sauce. Recipe makeovers like this are easy to do. Hankering for Mom's chicken noodle soup? Combine a box of low sodium chicken broth, some leftover chicken, a can of red beans for extra fiber, a package of frozen broccoli for added vitamins, and try out Miracle Noodle Angel Hair shirataki pasta. These noodles have zero calories and fat, and are very low in carbohydrate as they are made from tofu. Perfect for wheat free diets.
Mashed potatoes were a staple in my house growing up. Here's a recipe I devised so that I could still enjoy that creamy taste, without overdoing the carbs. Cut one head of cauliflower into small chunks. Boil the cauliflower with one clove of garlic and a pinch of salt. Drain it in a colander, and put in a food processor. Blend with ½ cup 2% Greek Yogurt or Daiya Greek Yogurt Alternative, for a non-dairy option. Add pepper and serve. You can also blend the cauliflower with low fat milk, olive oil, or a mix of any of the above.
If you look up macaroni and cheese in the dictionary, I'm sure the definition is "comfort food". As we know, it's not necessarily the food, but the portion that turns a food into an 'unhealthy' choice. Annie's Mac & Cheese in microwavable single serving pouches supports a healthy portion size and has only 40 calories of fat for each 240 calorie serving. Now, if you make Annie's Mac & Cheese in the box...you'll have to remember the box makes 3 servings. Or try Pastariso's Vegan Mac Uncheddar for a dairy-free option.
If a bowl of creamy, steamy soup is your comfort, there are many products on the market that are lower in fat and sodium than the average cream of mushroom in a can. Dr. McDougall's, Fig Food Co. and Amy's Light in Sodium Soups are all great options. With organic varieties including cream of tomato, butternut squash, lentil vegetable, black bean, creamy mushroom and split pea, they will warm you from head to toe. Remember to read labels, pay attention to portion sizes, and to find comfort in places other than the refrigerator!