Comfort food is really anything that brings you comfort! It might be a meal from your childhood or it might be a cultural meal that reminds you of “home.” Typically, comfort food dishes are heavier meals made with meat, cream, cheese, etc.
To lighten them up, you can make swaps and switch out a variety of ingredients. The key for all of my upgraded comfort food recipes? They have to taste similar (or better) than the original meal! If they taste too “healthy” they simply won’t satisfy a craving for the classic dish.
“Craving comfort food, but also want to stick to your health goals? Try these healthy comfort food recipes for a lighter spin on all your favorite classics.”
When tweaking recipes to make them a bit healthier, I have an arsenal of go-to swaps. Here are a few that I use often:
Easy Ingredient Swaps
Cauliflower and/or Cauliflower Rice – Have a dish that uses rice or potatoes? Cauliflower is a great, low-carb, low-calorie swap! You can use it so many different ways — fried “rice,” as a pizza crust or even mashed “potatoes!” There’s a reason this ingredient has a cult following.
Pumpkin puree – Did you know you can substitute pumpkin puree in place of flour, oil and eggs in boxed baked goods? Yep! It seems kind of like magic, but the end result is a super moist, delicious baked good. I even use it in my healthy apple muffins.
Spaghetti squash and zoodles – Instead of traditional pasta, use spaghetti squash noodles or zucchini noodles! These veggie noodles add fiber and flavor without the empty calories that come with traditional pasta. Learn the best way to cook spaghetti squash here.
Leaner meat – Use leaner meat like chicken or turkey in place of beef in traditional recipes. Bet you won’t even notice the difference!
Beans – Beans can easily be swapped for meat in most recipes to make them vegetarian. Beans add a good amount of protein and fiber to a dish and they’re low in cholesterol. Another fun way to incorporate beans is to buy legume-based pasta which has more fiber and protein than traditional pasta.
Tofu – I love using firm tofu in place of meat or cheese for savory dishes, but silken tofu works great as a sub for dairy in pies too. I use it in my vegan pumpkin pie!