Sometimes you’ve had a bad day (or week, or month), and curling up in front of a good movie with a dish of hot food can be an excellent remedy. Comfort food cravings may naturally follow, but turning to bad eating habits can make you feel worse. On the other hand, denying yourself the food you want during hard times doesn’t help.
What if those delicious comfort foods could make your belly happy without the guilt that’s typically attached to eating them? It’s totally possible. With a few substitutions you’ll barely notice, these traditionally unhealthy meals can become kitchen staples without ruining your diet.
The thinly-sliced zucchini replaces pasta in this zucchini lattice lasagna, which seriously cuts down the dish’s carb content. After it’s assembled in the baking dish, the lasagna is a set-it-and-forget-it meal until it’s piping hot out of the oven and ready to eat. It’s so good, you’ll forget you’re eating a healthy version of traditional lasagna.
The Amish live in a timeless culture. In addition to doing without the majority of the technologies we have today, they only cook wholesome meals with real-food ingredients. This Amish chicken casserole is a staple in Amish kitchens, and it’s certainly one to add to your repertoire. Made from simple ingredients, this casserole is a hearty dish that’s a real crowd-pleaser.
Shepherd’s pie is a comfort food favorite, but the mashed potatoes on top typically make the dish a carb-heavy meal. This healthier shepherd’s pie version cuts down on starchy potatoes by replacing them with cauliflower in the blender (you won’t know the difference). Bonus points if you replace the ground beef with ground turkey for an even leaner dinner!
Oatmeal replaces breadcrumbs in this lean meatloaf recipe, which adds some heart-healthy nutrition. Turkey is also used instead of ground beef to minimize the dish’s fat content. Despite these healthy little substitutions, the meatloaf is moist and flavorful. Dinner is on the table even faster when the loaves are baked in a petite loaf pan (and they’re just so adorable that way).
Fried chicken is an off-limits food for many health-conscious people due to its greasy, high-calorie content. This healthy alternative to fried chicken is amazing, even if you do not keep a Paleo diet. The recipe calls for coconut oil in place of canola and almond flour instead of all-purpose flour, making this a healthy (and satisfying) alternative.
Both meat-eaters and vegetarians will love these bulgur bean burgers. The plentiful spices, combined with the texture of the beans, make these meatless patties a flavorful and satisfying alternative to beef burgers. The yogurt sauce that goes on top is so creamy, you won’t miss the mayo.
This light chicken pot pie has all the flavors you love from traditional pot pie but without the high-calorie guilt. The crust and filling take a bit of work, but it’s packed with fresh, wholesome ingredients that are totally worth the effort. Make two pies, because this dish is even better the next day.
French toast is a total comfort food breakfast, but it can become a bad habit to eat it all the time. This healthy French toast smashes the cravings and is absolutely delicious. The recipe calls for egg whites, rice milk and whole grain or Ezekiel raisin bread. Top it with fresh berries and real maple syrup for a super-luxe breakfast.
You can’t talk comfort food without mentioning dessert – especially a decadent one. Whole grain pastry flour replaces all-purpose flour in these double-chocolate brownies. Low-fat plain yogurt keeps the batter moist, and the coarsely-chopped chocolate and nuts create great texture. Who knew you could indulge in a dessert this good with no guilt?
From breakfast through dinner to dessert, these comfort food recipes can still be there for you and your family during hard times – and you don’t have to ignore your diet to enjoy them.
Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for “The Drifter Collective.” Throughout her life, she has found excitement in the world around her. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations, cultures, and styles, while communicating these endeavors through her passion for writing and expression. Her love for the world around her is portrayed through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts.
The Drifter Collective: An eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us.