As the weather starts to turn colder, my thoughts (and cravings) definitely veer off the old healthy-eating path, trying to pull me to the Land of Comfort Food.
But as much as I love me some good chicken ‘n’ dumplins’ and velvety (not Velveeta) mac ‘n’ cheese, I don’t like care for the doughy deposits they leave around my mid-section.
So is there a way to indulge without all of the caloric consequences?
Sure there is. Just think of small changes you can make to some of your favorite comfort foods. Substitutions like …
- Pizza: Instead of having 3-4 pieces of pizza, enjoy a slice (maybe 2) and a side salad instead. Or go veggie, substituting healthier toppings for grease-laden meats and multiple cheeses. Better still, make it on a whole wheat crust.
- Spaghetti: Enjoy a reasonable portion (not the plate tipping mound you crave) but top it with plenty of tomato-based sauce. I also occasionally slip veggies in the sauce for extra nutrition. The response is usually favorable, if they even notice the veggies at all. Bonus!
- Hamburgers: Lessen the nutritional ramifications of America’s favorite sandwich by using a higher-quality lean beef, or substituting lean chicken, turkey or even a veggie patty. Stack with veggies, too, and go easy on the bacon and cheese. Instead of fries, add a veggie side.
- Macaroni & Cheese: Mix in vegetables like tomatoes, spinach, peas or carrots and try a lighter cheese sauce (made with milk, not cream) and don’t drown the noodles in so much of it. Also try to serve mac ‘n’ cheese as a side dish, not the main dish, to keep portion size under control.
I know I’ve said it before, but little things make a difference.
I used to make fun of someone for drinking diet soda as they inhaled a sugary dessert.
“Hey, it’s better than having dessert with a regular soda.”
Water instead of soda, skim instead of whole, baked instead of fried, whole grain instead of bleached white flour …
Every little thing helps.