Tags: DigIn, DigIn21, Magazine, DigInMagazine, SeptOct, Fall, LWES, healthy foods, healthy living

Comfort Foods that Nourish

Author: be well™ with Big Y® Registered Dietitian Team

As the weather turns from blissfully warm to the first seasonal frost, we begin to change too. We may stop playing outdoors as much in lieu of building a warm fortress while cooking our favorite, sometimes calorie-packed, comfort foods. This year, don’t!

Along with the change of season can come weight gain.

Consistently going up and down in weight throughout the year is not healthy, especially for your heart. It is said for every pound of fat, the heart must pump blood through 200 additional miles of blood vessels. How many more miles will your heart have to pump this season?


Giving up favorite comfort foods is unrealistic and impractical.

Who truly wants to forgo Mom’s homemade macaroni and cheese long-term? Make simple substitutions to recipe ingredients. For example, substitute lowfat milk for cream and reduce fat content dramatically in Mom’s macaroni and cheese.

Here are few other ways to make your comfort food nourish more than your soul:

Macaroni & Cheese

· Switch pasta to 100% whole wheat or whole grain.
· Make the béchamel (white sauce base) with skim milk
  or lowfat milk processed to have a thicker consistency.
· Opt for reduced-fat cheddar cheese over traditional, higher fat varieties.


Fried Chicken

· Bring down the fat considerably by baking instead of frying.
· Roll skinless breast tenderloins or thigh meat in a crispy crust of
  panko crumbs, crushed tortilla chips or a mixture of bran and corn flakes
  seasoned with pepper, spices and Parmesan cheese.


Fish & Chips

· Bake instead of frying.
· Slice fresh fish into strips and roll into one of the crusts listed above.
· Chop up your favorite fresh potato, season as desired
  (being mindful of sodium content) and bake until crispy.
· Mix lowfat mayonnaise (with only 2 grams total fat per serving) with
  sweet relish for a homemade tartar sauce.



· Use lean ground meat like 99% fat-free ground turkey breast.
· Do a classic remix and add in mushrooms, corn, spinach, onions,
  garlic and flaxseeds.
· Top with no salt added tomato sauce and garlic powder
  in place of ketchup.

Revised 08/29/2023