The intention of comfort food is noble because it seeks to give emotional satisfaction when consuming it. However, it’s mostly characterized by high caloric level, which is bad for your health. The thing is comfort food does not have to be bad for you. There are plenty of ways to make your favorite comfort foods healthier.
Here are some cooking hacks to make healthy comfort food recipes:
Cook with less oil
You should think about cooking with less oil. Baking requires little or no oil, and that’s why (baked food) is better. If you use oil, look for extra virgin olive oil or canola oil because it’s good for the heart. However, these oils are still packed with 120 calories per tablespoon, so you have to use them sparingly. As much as possible, use a cast-iron or non-stick pans and skillets because they use the least amount of oil.
Forget about cream
Dishes like mac and cheese or fettuccine is loaded with heavy cream, cheese or butter. This is not good for your health. The best thing to do is to ditch the heavy cream and make use of velvety sauces using low-fat milk thickened with flour. This substitute will save you more than 680 calories compared to heavy cream.
For potato salads and other creamy salads, you should consider low-fat mayonnaise combined with reduced fat sour cream. You will be surprised that the blend of the two tastes good. This substitute has 15 calories and 1 gram of fat compared to 90 calories and 10 grams fat on regular mayonnaise.
Replace the salt
Experts recommend that you limit salt consumption to not more than 2,300 mg or 1 teaspoon every day. However, this can be tricky, especially if you mostly eat outside. With this, you have to make most of your meals at home. Instead of using salt, replace it with a squeezed lime or lemon.
You can also consider chopped fresh herbs. When the recipe includes canned broth, tomatoes and beans, you should keep an eye on its salt content. Always opt for low salt contents by checking the nutritional panel.
Choose whole-wheat flour
If you’re making bread, cookies or muffins, you should use whole-wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour. Keep in mind that whole-wheat flour has more fiber content – actually, 12 grams more per cup. This will boost your magnesium, zinc and essential B vitamins intake.
Everyone loves the taste of butter, but it’s not necessarily good for the health. Although you cannot replace the taste of butter completely, you should still check the saturated fat. It’s better to use canola or olive oil.
Keep in mind that one tablespoon of butter has seven times more saturated fat compared to oils. Since you cannot completely abandon butter, at least experiment with your recipe and replace half of the butter with olive or canola oil.
Consider egg whites
Bear in mind that an egg white has 16 calories and 0 grams of fat. Egg yolk, on the other hand, has 54 calories and 5 grams of fat. There is a huge difference, which is why you have to avoid using egg yolks.