Everyone loves a good home cooked meal, but a hefty helping of meat and potatoes isn’t going to keep you healthy if you indulge in it too often. However, there are lots of crafty cooks out there who love their comfort food, and they’ve figured out how to make their favorite dishes lighter and more nutritious while still maintaining all the flavor of the original, straight-from-grandma’s-kitchen flavor that takes us all back to a better time. Next time you’re in the mood for a hearty meal, try one of these recipes out:
Macaroni and Cheese
What’s more southern comfort than a big bowl of homemade mac and cheese? It’s also a very heavy meal that can weigh you down. However, if you swap normal noodles for whole wheat ones, replace the cream with Greek yogurt, and use lots of bold spices and sharp, low-fat cheeses, you’ll get all the flavor and heartiness without all the calories. You can find this nutrition and flavor packed mac and cheese recipe topping this list of healthy winter comfort food.
Chicken Pot Pie
Few warm meals are more soothing or reminiscent of home-sweet-home than chicken pot pie. Leave it to good ol’ Martha Stewart to give us a delicious pot pie recipe that is also nutritious. This version is packed with fresh vegetables like carrots, onions, squash, and green beans, and it replaces the traditional gravy base with a bold and flavorful white wine sauce. The filling is so healthified that you won’t have to feel the slightest bit guilty about the tiny little square of puff pastry atop this one-dish meal.
Molten Lava Cake
Yes, you heard that right. Molten. Lava. Cake. Except, healthier. How is this possible, you ask? Well, I myself don’t care to dig too deep (if you say healthy and chocolate in the same sentence I’ll take your word for it and nibble away,) but none other than a red-blooded Texan figured this conundrum out. This recipe is gluten-free and made with whole grains, and it uses dark chocolate, which is actually proven to have health benefits in moderation. This recipe also calls for either unrefined or coconut sugar, which mens it will be lower on the glycemic index than other desserts, and won’t leave in danger of suffering a sugar crash after you enjoy your treat. If you’d like to figure out how to make these light molten lava cakes, check out this list of healthy recipes for National Nutrition Month.
Greek Turkey Burgers
What’s more American than a big, juicy burger with a side of fries? Not much, really. The phrase “turkey burger” strikes fear and pessimism in the hearts of most, but this Greek version is packed with so much flavor you won’t even notice that you’re missing the red meat. Mediterranean spices, red onion, and feta cheese come together perfectly in this burger, and the homemade tzatziki sauce and whole wheat bun will seal the deal as far as your tastebuds are concerned. Oh hey, if you’re going to have a burger, why not stick with tradition and pair it with fries? Healthy baked garlic fries, that is…
Green Bean Casserole
Yup, that’s right! That delicious dish your aunt always brought to Thanksgiving dinner, the one that tasted unhealthy even though it was mostly green beans, can actually be nutritious. Just swap out the traditional cream of mushroom soup for a lighter version, use skim milk, and add actual mushrooms and onions to create all the flavor of the full-fat variety without the fat. Even this “dangerfood” can have a healthy recipe of its own!
The smell of blueberry pancakes sizzling on the griddle still reminds me of my childhood weekends, and that aroma could probably wake me from the dead. I love a nice, hearty breakfast, but pancakes aren’t really known for being the healthiest way to start your day. However, this recipe for Greek yogurt blueberry pancakes lightens things up quite a bit. They only contain a half a cup of flour, and a full cup of antioxidant-rich blueberries. As long as you sizzle them in a healthy oil like coconut, you’ll be getting your day off to a tasty and healthy start.