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Comfort food made healthy

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When the temperatures drop, it’s easy to turn to food because we crave something that will help give us some warmth and comfort. With less of an abundance of fresh fruit and veggies, many of the season’s foods are often higher in carbohydrates, calories and fat. Give some of your favourite comfort foods a make-over with our healthier versions.

Mac’N’Cheese

Turn this high fat, high carbohydrate, warm and cheesy dish into something even more enjoyable. Replace regular refined white noodles with a whole wheat or spelt option instead. This will give the mac’n’cheese some extra fibre content, which will also make you feel fuller for longer so you don’t overindulge in seconds (or thirds).  You can reduce the calories in this dish too by making a homemade cheese sauce made from Greek yogurt rather than cream, and you can always throw in some of your favourite vegetables.

Chicken Pot Pie 

What’s dinner on a cold day without the famous chicken pot pie? Warm, creamy chicken filling in a delicious crust—yum! Although this particular dish can be full of veggies (peas, carrots, celery, corn, etc.), the added fat from the cream, crust and chicken can give this dish a caloric boost.  Substitute the traditional high fat puff pastry crust with a light phyllo dough crust instead.  Replace the heavy cream for milk and fill it up with plenty of veggies.


Mashed Potatoes
Everyone loves a heaping spoonful of mashed potatoes on their plate. While mashed potatoes are a very filling and delicious addition to any meal, they are very high in carbohydrates. Get adventurous with your mashed potatoes and try mashed cauliflower instead—it’s mashed potatoes ‘good’ twin. Cauliflower has recently been touted as the new versatile superfood, loaded with antioxidants and vitamins and minerals.  Best yet? Mashed cauliflower can be added to any recipe that calls for mashed potatoes—give it a try in your next shepherd’s pie recipe!

Fried Chicken and Fries

You can still enjoy the delicious flavour and crispiness of fried chicken without even frying it. Instead of using refined white bread crumbs, try replacing them with almond flour or whole wheat bread crumbs for extra fibre.  Bake the chicken in the oven and in a matter of minutes, your chicken will have a golden-delicious crunch.
 
What’s a dish of fried chicken without a side of yummy fries?  Try swapping them for baked sweet potatoes fries. They are packed with carotenoids and fibre and aren’t as high on the glycemic index, making them a less starchy alternative. 

Chocolate Brownies

And last but not least, comfort food just wouldn’t be the same without something sweet. Try a flourless, low fat, gluten-free alternative made with black beans instead of flour. Using this alternative will allow the brownie to become fudgy in texture and will give them some extra fibre.  Don’t worry, the black beans do not alter the taste; they enhance the flavour and texture of this healthier alternative—your kids will never even know the difference!  For added health benefits, use dark chocolate for its anti-inflammatory benefits and you’ve got yourself a delicious, healthy treat.