Comfort food. Two little words that bring to mind dishes like french fries, mac and cheese, ice cream, cheeseburgers, and of course, chocolate.
If you’re searching for comfort foods that are also healthy, we’ve put together a list of 60 of our favorite Winter comfort food recipes.
What Is ‘Comfort Food’?
Comfort food is a meal that brings about a feeling of nostalgia and well-being, giving you a sense of comfort when you eat it. It’s something that can instantly bring back memories of a person, place, or special time in your life.
The reason we crave these comforting foods can be as a result of stress, or because you’re just in the mood for a particular kind of food. Men are more likely to crave savory comfort foods, while women are more likely to crave sweet comfort foods.
So, what makes comfort food so comforting? When we eat sweet and starchy foods, our bodies produce serotonin, which makes us feel calm, and decreases levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.
This may seem like a good thing, but traditional comfort foods are high in fat, sugar, calories, and carbohydrates.
However, with a few tweaks and substitutions, comfort food can in fact be healthy and still gloriously comforting. What could be better than that?
To start, we’ve gathered 6 tips to help you make your comfort food recipes healthier.
6 Tips for Making Comfort Food Recipes Healthier
- Add in vegetables when you can – One of the simplest ways to make your comfort food recipes healthier is to add in vegetables whenever you can. Mix some frozen peas or steamed broccoli into your mac and cheese, or chop up some peppers and mushrooms to add to your meat sauce.
- Embrace whole grains – Adding some whole grains will give your comfort foods a healthy boost. Swap out your pasta for a whole-grain variety, choose brown rice over white, or try a new grain such as quinoa or barley.
- Choose heart-healthy oil – Heart-healthy oils can be just as comforting and offer several nutritious benefits. For example, instead of using butter, choose avocado or olive oil when you’re cooking or baking.
- Swap or cut out the sugar – You can reduce or swap out sugar completely and still enjoy your favorite, comforting sweet treats. If you don’t want to cut out sugar completely, start by cutting down the amount you use. Or instead, swap out the sugar for alternative sweeteners like organic cane sugar, maple syrup, or date syrup.
- Reconsider yogurt – Yogurt isn’t just great in smoothies or with fresh fruit and granola, it’s also a great way to make your favorite comfort foods healthier. Use yogurt in place of high calorie, high fat ingredients like mayonnaise, sour cream, and heavy cream, and get the benefit of extra protein and calcium.
- Choose a different cheese – Cheese is the star of many popular comfort foods. By choosing a cheese that has a lot of flavor, you won’t have to use as much to enjoy it in your favorite dishes. Go for tangy goat cheese or shredded Monterey Jack on your tacos or swap out the cheddar in your mac and cheese for more flavorful Gruyere.
20 Healthy Winter Comfort Food Recipes for Breakfast
- Avocado Egg Toast | Eating Well
- Pancake Puffs | Life and Health
- Breakfast Grain Bowl Mix | Kitchn
- Oatmeal Pancakes with Cinnamon Apples | Eat This Not That
- Magic Breakfast Cookies | A Couple Cooks
- Pumpkin Smoothie | The Pioneer Woman
- Peanut Butter Overnight Oats | Eating Bird Food
- Blueberry Baked Oatmeal | Love & Lemons
- Avocado and Egg Breakfast Pizza | Kitchn
- Purple Resolution Smoothie | The Pioneer Woman
- Healthy Chocolate Breakfast Donuts | Chocolate Covered Katie
- Baked Banana Oatmeal | A Couple Cooks
- Breakfast Loaded Sweet Potato | Eat This Not That
- Birthday Cake Baked Oatmeal | Eating Bird Food
- Spinach and Quinoa Mini Breakfast Quiche | Very Well Fit
- Chaffles | The Pioneer Woman
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Shake | Eating Well
- Cottage Cheese Pancakes | A Couple Cooks
- On-the-Go Breakfast Pudding | Life and Health
- Almond Butter Double Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins | Ambitious Kitchen
20 Healthy Winter Comfort Food Recipes for Lunch and Dinner
- Zucchini Mac and Cheese | Healthy Maven
- Spinach Quesadillas | Taste of Home
- Lentil Baked Ziti | Cookie and Kate
- Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup | Foodie Crush
- Turkey Taco Spaghetti Squash Bowls | Skinny Taste
- Creamy Tortellini Soup | The Pioneer Woman
- Creamy Broccoli Cauliflower Soup | Hummusapien
- Italian Eggplant Parmesan| Cookie and Kate
- Sweet Potato and Black Bean Shepherd’s Pie | Deliciously Ella
- Meatloaf with Tomato Glaze | Foodie Crush
- Tuna Melt | Lee From America
- Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili | Taste of Home
- Slow Cooker Chipotle-Corn Chowder | The Foodie Dietician
- Kale Pesto Pizza | Cookie and Kate
- Swedish Meatballs | The Healthy Epicurean
- Winter Vegetable Soup | Taste.com
- Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese | The Pioneer Woman
- Black Bean Sweet Potato Enchiladas | Cookie and Kate
- Baked Chicken Parmesan | Foodie Crush
- Chicken with Lemon Garlic Potatoes and Brussel Sprouts | Saucy Kitchen
20 Healthy Winter Comfort Food Recipes for Dessert
- Baked Apples with Oatmeal and Yogurt | Food Network
- Chocolate Covered Frozen Raspberries | Eating Bird Food
- Healthy Fruit Pizza | Fit Foodie Finds
- Grilled Bananas a la Mode | A Couple Cooks
- Easy Yogurt Bark | Her Highness Hungry Me
- Chocolate Zucchini Bread | Love & Lemons
- Easy Apple Crumble Pie | Beauty Bites
- Gluten-Free Carrot Cake | Gimme Delicious
- Cranberry Cake | A Cozy Kitchen
- Chocolate Pudding | A Couple Cooks
- Mini Ice Cream Sandwiches | Food Network
- Almond Butter Chocolate Bites | Her Highness Hungry Me
- Mini No-Bake Cheesecakes | Homemade Mastery
- Classic Lemon Bars | Fit Foodie Finds
- Peanut Butter Chickpea Blondies | Beauty Bites
- Chocolate Covered Bananas | A Couple Cooks
- Broiled Banana Splits | Food Network
- Japanese Fruit Sandwich | I am a Food Blog
- Coffee Chocolate Chip Blondies | Cookie and Kate
- Salted Chocolate Bread Pudding | Dude That Cookz
There’s truly nothing more emotionally and physically comforting than our favorite comfort foods. Now you can satisfy those cravings with these 60 healthy Winter comfort food recipes.
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