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So, picture this… it’s a chilly (or frigid – depending on where you live!) evening in February. You finish your work day, get home, put on your favorite comfy warm sweater, light a candle and maybe even pour a glass of wine. Then, you sit down to enjoy dinner - a nice crisp green salad. Huh… something doesn’t fit, right?

Yes, we love a great salad! But sometimes (especially this time of year) nothing hits the spot quite like some good old comfort food! Often, things come to mind like pasta, casseroles, baked treats… dishes loaded with cheese and carbs to soothe our bodies and hearts ;) . But wait, what about your health? Well, here’s some good news to warm you up – your comfort foods don’t have to be unhealthy! Here’s a few ways to enjoy your yummy winter favorites AND stay on track with your health:

Think Unconventional

Make comfort food out of veggies! I know you’re probably rolling your eyes behind your computer, but stick with me for a moment. What’s awesome about vegetables is that you really can’t overeat them. Or at least it’s harder to overeat cauliflower or carrots than it is with pasta and chocolate. So, on days when you just want a big, robust meal, go for the veggies you love. Find warm, flavorful ways to prepare them and boom – you have a comfort food you can feel zero guilt about! Think roasted veggies, mashed cauliflower, baked sweet potato. Don’t be shy with the flavor: lemon or lime juice, garlic, herbs and olive oil. Even things like butter and cheese. If it gets you to eat more veggies – it’s worth it!

Bulk Up Your Favorites

Do you ever experience that “got to have it” comfort food craving? Mac and cheese, brunch foods, lasagna, pizza, meatloaf… whatever yours may be, bulk it up by sneaking in more veggies! Crush that craving without sacrificing the nutrition your body needs. Puree some spinach to add to your favorite marinara sauce. Puree all kinds of veggies to make a tasty soup base. Add cauliflower and broccoli to your cheesy pasta dish. Flavor up your quiche with extra onions and peppers. You may not even realize it’s there when you’re eating it, or you may find you like it even better!

Swap it Out

Ground turkey or chicken for ground beef

Greek yogurt for sour cream, mayo or heavy cream

Whole grain for refined white (bread, rice, pasta, tortillas, etc.)

Hummus for veggie dips & sandwich spread

Olive or avocado oil for vegetable oil or butter

Honey or maple syrup for sugar

Satisfy that Sweet Tooth

In order to eat clean, you must say sayonara to all of your sugary favorites! …You know I’m joking, I’m all about that YOLO mindset! Girl, have the cookie! Buttt… if you’re looking for a healthier swap for your cookie, muffin, pancake or other baked good cravings, here’s one idea for you: Substitute your favorite protein powder (here’s my favorite *ADD LINK*) for the flour (or a portion of the flour) and voila! You’ve added protein, vitamins and minerals while subtracting refined white flour – a win-win for your health AND your taste buds!

All Summed Up

Here's the thing, as I’ve said before and I’ll say again, life is short, and a healthy life is all about balance. Give yourself permission to enjoy the foods and drinks you love, while remembering that you want to feel good too! It’s absolutely possible to eat well AND enjoy what you eat. Keep portion control in mind. Drink your water. Provide your body with the nutrients and fuel it needs. Don’t deprive yourself. One of my favorite things to do for my clients is to help create delicious and filling recipes and meal plans, so please reach out to get your complementary 7 day meal plan!

What are your favorite comfort foods?!


Lucie Mitchell, CTNC

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