Ah, winter comfort foods—is anything better than curling up in a blanket and eating your favorite?
However, many comfort foods, such as macaroni and cheese, fried chicken, and creamy stews and soups, are full of fat and calories we don’t need. Following are a few tips to reduce the fat and calories without sacrificing the taste and comfort you want.
Cut down the butter.
If a recipe calls for three tablespoons of butter, try using only two tablespoons (or less). Chances are you won’t notice a difference in taste. Using margarine presents its own problems, as most of them have hydrogenated oil you need to completely stay away from.
Try using lower-fat dairy products.
Instead of heavy cream, try using half-and-half, or use 2% milk instead of full-fat milk. Sour cream and cottage cheese come in low-fat varieties. You can find lower-fat cheeses, or use a smaller amount of high-quality cheese.
For some recipes, a lower-fat substitution might not work, but it’s certainly worth a try.
Reduce sugar by half.
While sugar doesn’t have that many calories, reducing it is always a good idea when trying to eat healthier. If you don’t like the taste with less sugar, try adding a little bit of honey.
Add more lean protein, fruit, and vegetables.
If you’re making a chicken potpie, use the leanest cuts of the chicken and add more vegetables. Try some broccoli, cauliflower, and beans.
Try pan-frying instead of deep-frying.
You’ll use less oil and have fewer calories. Try frying in olive oil or coconut oil for a change of taste. Taking the skin off will reduce fat, as will baking or oven-frying.
If all else fails, simply eat smaller portions, or make adjustments elsewhere in your diet.
If you can’t stand the way your mac ‘n cheese tastes with lower-fat substitutions, by all means, cook it the right way—just eat from a smaller bowl or plate. If you don’t want to do that, then plan your mac feast and eat less during the other meals of the day.
What do you do to reduce the fat and calories in your comfort foods?