Healthier Alternatives To Your Favorite Foods

Comfort foods: They got that name for a reason. You long for them at times when you need a boost; you crave them when you’re celebrating. The only problem is that those impossibly sweet, salty, buttery or creamy items don’t get along well with your aspirations to be healthy and physically fit – or do they? The good news is that you can continue to have the same delicious comfort foods you want, just as long as you are willing to make some easy modifications. You’ll be amazed at how tasty and simple it can be.

CREAMY WITHOUT THE CREAM

Homemade macaroni and cheese, fettuccine alfredo and potato salad all get their appeal from rich and velvety sauces. Keep the taste and texture but instead of cream, use a combination of 1 cup low-fat milk and 4 teaspoons of all-purpose flour that is whisked together over low heat until thick and bubbly. You will save a whopping 680 calories per cup using this substitute while continuing to have a velvety sauce. Using low-fat mayonnaise saves you 75 calories per tablespoon and can turn heavy potato salad into a lighter and healthier alternative.

COOK WITH LESS OIL

Even restricting your cooking to using extra virgin olive and canola oils still means you are adding unnecessary calories. If you prepare foods with the right kind of cast-iron, nonstick or enamel cookware, you can reduce the amount of oil you need to add to your soups and sauces. You won’t even notice the difference.

FRY WITHOUT THE GREASE

It’s no secret that deep frying isn’t healthy for you. Fortunately, you can achieve delicious results without a sizzling pot filled with grease and seasonings. One option is to purchase an air fryer that cooks the food with circulated hot air instead of oil. You can also modify recipes like the one for fried chicken by dipping pieces in milk or egg, dredging them in seasoned bread crumbs and coating them with canola spray before baking them in the oven.

BAKE HEALTHY

You don’t need to give up the sweet muffins, cookies and pastries you love; just replace half of the all-purpose flour with the whole wheat variety. Taking this step will boost the fiber, B vitamins, zinc and magnesium in your baked goods. If you are making delicate cakes or pie crusts, choose whole wheat pastry flour.

CUT BACK ON BUTTER

As delicious as it is, butter is a real health downer. It contains seven times more saturated fats than does an equivalent amount of oil. Experiment with your favorite recipes to see how it turns out if you replace half of the butter with olive or canola oil.

IT’S NO YOLK: YOU DON’T NEED EGG YOLKS

Did you know that an egg white has 0 grams of fat and only 16 calories? Compare that to the 54 calories and 5 grams of fat that whole eggs have, and it just makes sense to forego the yolks. Use the whites of two eggs as a substitute for one whole egg, and you will find that you will not be able to tell the difference in most recipes.

CUT BACK ON CHEESE

Because cheese can be high in fat and packed with calories, it’s important to make the most of every ounce. Use flavorful varieties such as sharp Cheddar, Parmigiano and Romano while reducing the quantities.

The next time a big celebration rolls around or you’re looking for a way to forget about your blues, you can still reach for your comfort food cookbook. Just remember that you will feel even better at the end of the meal if you have made some of these simple and delicious modifications. You can even feel good about going for seconds.

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