Nothing is quite as heart-warming as a creamy bowl of mac and cheese on a chilly day. The problem is, the holiday season tends to bring on a few unwanted pounds, and comfort foods are often to blame. But rest assured, we’ve got ten lightened-up comfort food recipes that your taste buds will approve of.
What makes it healthier: Sweet potatoes pack this cheesy classic with beta-carotene, which helps keep your skin healthy.
Why we like it: Mac and cheese that helps your skin look better? Win-win.
What makes it healthier: You won’t find heavy cream or butter in this pot pie-style stew. Instead, puréed veggies give it a creamy-and-hearty consistency.
Why we like it: You can set it and forget it in the slow cooker, or simmer it slowly on the stove. It also makes plenty of freezer-friendly leftovers.
What makes it healthy: A cauliflower-based sauce brings creamy goodness with much less saturated fat than the original version. This recipe calls for high-protein mung-bean fettuccine, but you can substitute whole grain if that’s easier.
Why we like it: Finally, a fettuccine alfredo that won’t send you snoozing after you eat it.
What makes it healthier: Veggies like bell peppers and zucchini lend their heart-healthy fiber, while lean turkey helps cut down on the calories.
Why we like it: You can serve it for dinner alongside mashed potatoes and use the leftovers to make a tasty lunch sandwich.
What makes it healthier: Veggies like mushrooms, eggplant and Swiss chard add a host of vitamins to this lightened-up lasagna, while whole wheat noodles bump up its fiber content.
Why we like it: This recipe was created by yours truly, and I can vouch for its tastiness.
What makes it healthier: This “fried” chicken is actually baked in the oven with a crispy cornflake crust.
Why we like it: We’re always up for a new way to spice up boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
What makes it healthier: These pancakes are made from white whole-wheat flour, which has fluffiness of white flour but the nutrient profile of whole grain flour.
Why we like it: Who says you can’t have chocolate for breakfast?
What makes it healthier: Lean ground beef and a host of veggies add a mix of protein and fiber to the filling.
Why we like it: Nothing says “comfort food” more than beef with creamy mashed potatoes.
What makes it healthier: This version isn’t much different than a traditional pot roast, but it’s a simple recipe you can make part of your dinner rotation. To keep things healthy, stick to a quarter-plate-size portion of pot roast and have plenty of non-starchy veggies alongside it.
Why we like it: All you need is a few minutes to throw the ingredients together, and your oven will take care of the rest.
What makes it healthier: Avocado gives this soup its creaminess, while kale and spinach bring plenty of antioxidants and fiber.
Why we like it: It’s the green, nutrient-packed version of creamy potato soup.