I know what you’re thinking, you come home from work, stressed and tired and all you want is something yummy and comforting to eat, something quick and savory to make the whole day worthwhile. Sounds familiar?
We all have those days. We also have the following mornings, when we get on the scale and resent ourselves for not having stronger will power to resist the temptation the night before, worse yet when you’ve been eating healthy the whole day only to break down come evening.
So I’ve done the research for those healthy comfort foods that will satisfy the comfort craving without the morning dose of resentment. Here’s how we can have the best of both worlds…
One of my all time favorite comfort foods is pizza. The way the cheese melts in your mouth and the tomato sauce hits your tongue with the that bit of tang combined with the crispy bite of thin crust, pure deliciousness. But with my metabolism, just looking at a pizza pie gains me lbs, don’t laugh, it’s true :) Not mention what happens if I actually consume it! This being the case, I don’t indulge in this pleasure very often, because let’s face it ,regular pizza is full of carbs, fats and high calories that most of us just don’t have any use for. But thankfully here are some tasty pizza substitutes that would hit the spot.
#1 Meatball (or Meatless Meatball) Sliders: Three small meatballs with tomato sauce pack 120 calories, which is celery sticks compared to pizza. Plus, you’ll get about 8 grams of protein. Veggie meatballs are typically even lighter. For the full crusty pizza effect, serve the sliders on flat-bread or a thin crust.
#2 Mini Pizza on an English Muffin: This is the classic “no cheat” pizza recipe, and for good reason. You get all the great tastes of pizza in a conservative serving. Dress up a whole wheat English muffin with your favorite toppings. For an even smaller snack, make a batch of polenta and quinoa pizza bites.
#3 Pita With Hummus: Whole-grain pita bread is loaded with fiber and makes a healthy substitute for pizza crust. Served with hummus, pita bread provides you with a large amount of complex carbohydrates, which give you a satisfied feeling and will make it less likely that you will over eat and gain weight. You can buy pre-made humus or if you’d like to make your own from scratch.
I certainly cannot leave out burgers from the list of comfort foods. The juicy savory meat hitting your taste buds with a hint of spice is heavenly! What can anything be more comforting than this? Here are some healthier alternatives to fatty beef burgers…
#4 Buffalo or Bison Burgers: These burgers are great alternatives to beef because they are both lean and protein-packed as well as lower in calories than beef or pork. They provide lots of nutrients compared to the amount of calories. Take a look at This Greek bison burger recipe.
#5 Tuna Burger: A nutrient-dense food that provides a good supply of omega-3 fatty acids, which is important for our bodies. Follow this delicious Thai tuna burger recipe.
#6 Black Bean Veggie Burger: In particular, this has been the standard vegetarian burger choice for quite some time. Black beans are an excellent source of fiber and protein that will help normalize the digestive process, keeping one full and satisfied. Check out This black bean veggie burger recipe
#7 Portobello Burger: Portobello mushrooms were once dismissed as providing little nutrition. Luckily, we now know that Portobellos provide many health benefits, including a good dose of selenium, a necessary micronutrient. Portobellos are also surprisingly meaty and with seasoning can satisfy a burger craving. This Asian-inspired soy sauce and balsamic vinegar-marinated Portobello burger recipe provides clean flavors and quick prep time. Or, kick the flavor up a notch with Blue Cheese Portobello burgers.
#8 Turkey Burger: You may wonder if turkey burgers are that much healthier than beef burgers the answer is actually not that simple. If you buy pre-made burgers then you will need to choose carefully. Quite often cheaper turkey burgers will be made with a high proportion of dark meat and possibly even the skin. Skin in particular is high in fat, and even though the rest of the meat may be lean it can affect the fat content of the burgers. Choosing higher quality turkey burgers will ensure that they are better for you. If you are eating a turkey burger containing skin then it would normally be better to choose a lean cut of beef. This turkey burger with roasted eggplant manages to be moist, tasty and not over-salted through the use of some interesting ingredients like Marmite.
What can be more savory than a bowl of ice-cream topped with some cherry preserves and drizzled with hot chocolate? Just thinking about it now makes me want to go grab some from the fridge, which of course I always keep stocked with my favorite soy ice-cream just in case I get that craving.
#9 Soy Ice cream: My personal favorite substitution for regular ice cream, Trader Joe’s Chocolate Chip Cherry
#10 Frozen yogurt: Comes in many different flavors and is much lower in fat and calorie content. In addition, beneficial probiotic bacteria are present in frozen yogurt, which helps with digestive issues. Research has shown that probiotics can be helpful for people with irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS.
#11 Fruit Smoothie: You can pretty much use your imagination here and combine any fruit you like. My favorite is a banana smoothie (3 bananas, 1 cup of fat free yogurt, ½ cup of fat free milk, 2 table spoons honey, 2 cups ice. Serves 4)
#12 Bowl of Fresh Fruit: Throw together a bowl of berries and mix with sour cream and drizzle with honey for some added sweetness. Honey adds sweetness to the equation and is also known for its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-fungal properties.
Or another alternative blend together a cup of fat free or low fat cream cheese with honey to taste and mix together with berries or use it as dip for bigger fruit.
All in all when we do get that comfort food craving there are ways around it without sacrificing health and feeling guilty. Also don’t forget about incorporating fruits and veggies in your healthy comfort foods as they carry a lot of nutrients and natural sugars that satisfy the sweet tooth cravings with just a little creativity.
1.Satisfy Your Pizza Craving With These Scrumptious Substitutes, http://shine.yahoo.com/healthy-living/satisfy-your-pizza-craving-with-these-scrumptious-substitutes-2457139.html
2.Healthy Food that can Replace Pizza, http://www.livestrong.com/article/545973-healthy-food-that-can-replace-pizza/
3. Five Healthy Burger Alternatives, http://blogs.houstonpress.com/eating/2011/05/healthy_burger_alternatives.php
4.Healthy Alternatives: Choosing a Turkey Burger over Beef, http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/healthy-eating/healthy-alternatives-choosing-a-turkey-burger-over-beef.html#b