Guilt-Free Comfort Foods
Cold weather and comfort food are a match made in heaven. Once the temperature dips, it’s hard not to start dreaming of creamy sauces, comforting carbs and bronzed, cheesy toppings. But after giving in to these cravings, chances are you aren’t feeling your best – eating a meal with no veggie in sight is likely to leave you sluggish, bloated…and hungry again a couple hours later.
Well, we’re here to tell you that you can have it all. You don’t have to give up the foods you love in order to get the nutrition you need – and getting enough fibre and nutrients doesn’t have to be a bore. The fact is, if you try to exclude your favourite comfort foods…you’ll only end up craving them more. So here’s how you can have your burger and eat it too.
Strike a Balance
Having one of those days when you just need to make your favourite mac ‘n’ cheese, and nothing else will do? We get it. The trick is, don’t just load up on cheese and carbs – fill the rest of your plate with veggies. A good rule of thumb is that each meal should be about 1/3 carbs, 1/3 fruits and veggies and 1/3 protein, dairy and fats. If you can stick to this basic ratio, you’ll know you’re getting the nutrients you need.
Try Something New
Do you need to make your mom’s casserole recipe? Or are you just craving something warming and flavourful? There are so many amazing dishes that warm you up on a chilly day…and sneak in some veggies and fibre to boot. And since no single food contains all the nutrients we need, mixing things up means you won’t get stuck in a nutritional rut. Try a veggie-packed Mexican-inspired casserole, or some cheesy enchiladas stuffed with greens. Or, if you’re in the mood for a bubbling pot of goodness on your stovetop, why not try out a creamy Thai curry?
Put a Veggie in It
You probably already know this by now…but this is our favourite trick. Go ahead, make your favourite recipe…then find creative ways to sneak in some veggies. In so many cases, we end up loving the healthier version more! Making cheesy pasta? Slip in some broccoli or butternut squash. Thinking about pizza? Give cauliflower crust a try (trust us). Making a grilled cheese sandwich? Throw in some sautéed greens and caramelized onions. How would that not be delicious?! Too often, we think of veggies as something we “have” to eat. But when you give them a little love, they make everything better.
Want to indulge in gloriously comforting meals? Then you really gotta watch your snacking. It’s so easy to graze on chips and cookies, without thinking too hard about what you’re consuming. And eating while distracted often means you eat more than you meant to, without even realizing it. So try to stay stocked with healthy snacks – nuts, fruits, veggies and dip, you name it. And even then, it’s best to lay off the grazing unless you really feel hungry. Even “healthy” snacks can deliver a lot of fat and sodium in a deceptively small package.
Don’t. Feel. Guilty.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. The easiest way to keep your diet guilt-free…is not to let yourself feel guilty. We’re all human – and it’s only natural to give in to that burger and fries craving every once in a while. Food is meant to be a source of pleasure – so when you give in to temptation, you should love every minute of it. Then, just use a little extra care in planning something delicious AND nutritious for your next day’s meal. You got this.
Got a favourite healthy comfort food? You bet we want to hear about it. Send your recipes to firstname.lastname@example.org.