Healthy Winter Comfort Foods

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Now that winter’s in full swing, you might notice yourself hungering for warm and rich foods to help offset the cold outdoors.  These satisfying and familiar comfort foods may keep you warm, but, in their traditional forms, can often pile on a serious helping of calories and fat.  On the Wellspring Plan, the aim is to keep your favorite foods in your diet, but to find low fat and fat free versions that will love you back, i.e., ones that will satisfy you in a healthy way.  Therefore, I encourage you to give in to your comfort food cravings but to modify your choices in a Wellspring friendly way.  You can do this by altering your favorite recipes or by searching for new recipes in books and online.  Here are some suggestions for altering a couple popular comfort foods to get your started.

MACARONI AND CHEESE
Traditional Ingredients: white pasta, full fat cheese, cream
Wellspring Friendly Modifications: use whole wheat pasta, add veggies like peas, mushrooms, spinach, broccoli, use fat free cream cheese or cottage cheese to thicken a sauce made with skim milk, use a mixture of fat free and low fat cheese, add flavor with spices like cayenne pepper and paprika
Recipe example:
THREE CHEESE MAC AND CHEESE
Ingredients
8oz                               fiber enriched or whole wheat macaroni noodles
¼  cup                          fat free Panko breadcrumbs
¼ packet                      McCormick Veggie Steamers Cheddar Cheese
1/3 tbsp                        Vegetable bouillon powder
3/4 cup                                     Fat-Free milk
¼ block                        Cabot 75% Reduced-Fat Sharp Cheddar Cheese
½ tbsp                          fat free Parmesan cheese
¼ tbsp                          garlic powder
½ tbsp                          cornstarch
¼ tsp                           Dijon mustard
Butter spray
Salt and pepper to taste
Nonstick cooking spray
Method
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
2. Spray a baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and butter spray.
3. Boil pasta according to directions with 2 tablespoons bouillon and 1 tablespoon salt until tender.
4. In a saucepan combine cornstarch with the fat-free half and half.
5. Heat until the mixture thickens, and then add the cheese sauce packet, mustard, turmeric, garlic powder, parmesan and the cheddar cheese.  Taste the sauce and season if needed.
6. Stir in the noodles and pour into pan.  Top with Panko breadcrumbs and spray with butter.
7. Bake until breadcrumbs are golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.
Yield:  4 -1 cup servings
Nutritional Information (per cup): Calories………………..294
                                                       Fat ………………………..3 g
                                                       Protein…………………..16g

MEATLOAF
Traditional Ingredients: full fat ground beef, whole eggs, oil
Wellspring Friendly Modifications: use extra lean ground beef or turkey, lean ground buffalo meat, fill it out with chopped veggies like carrots, celery, pepper, use egg whites instead of whole eggs to hold everything together
Recipe example:
BUFFALOAF
Ingredients
1 ½ lbs             extra lean ground buffalo meat (sub 24 oz Gimme Lean for vegetarian)
¼ cup               egg beaters
1 cup                fat-free milk
¾ cup               fat-free bread crumbs
1 each              envelope dry onion soup mix
2 tbsp               ketchup
                        salt and pepper
Method
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a bowl, combine above ingredients.
3. Press into a greased loaf pan and bake for 1 hour.
4. Take ketchup and spoon it down the center of the loaf and continue to cook an additional 12 to 15 minutes.
Serve immediately
Yield: 6 – 4 oz servings
Nutritional Information:  Calories………………..236 (vegetarian- 213)
                                    Fat …………………………3 g (vegetarian- 0 g)
                                    Protein…………………..36 g (vegetarian- 18 g)
MASHED POTATOES
Traditional Ingredients: cream, butter
Wellspring Friendly Modifications: use buttermilk or fat free sour cream or
cream cheese instead of cream, add garlic, peas, green onion for additional flavor, leave skins in for extra fiber and vitamins.
Recipe example:
MASHED POTATOES              
Ingredients
16 oz                potatoes
2                      garlic cloves, minced
½ cup               fat free sour cream
½ cup               fat free vegetable broth
                        Salt and pepper to taste
Method
1. Boil potatoes until tender.
2. Drain potatoes and transfer to large mixing bowl.
3. On slow speed, begin whipping potatoes.  Slowly add sour cream, broth, and seasonings.
4. Whip until smooth consistency is reached.
Yield: 4- ½ cup servings
Nutritional Information: Calories…………………..130
   Fat………………………….0 g

   Protein……………………4.5 g[insert author’s bio here]
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Healthy Winter Comfort Foods
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About The Author

Cascia Talbert

Cascia Talbert is a devout Catholic, mother of five children, health and fitness enthusiast, positive parenting supporter. She started the Healthy Moms Magazine in 2007 as a resource for moms. She is a featured blogger at wellsphere.com, often has her content featured on the popular news app, News360. The Healthy Moms Magazine was ranked the number one health blog for moms from RNCentral.com. Cascia also blogs at talbertzoo.com and is the founder of HealthyMoms-Social.com, a free social network for moms committed to a healthy lifestyle. She lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband and five children. As a busy mom of five she understands how difficult it is for moms to find the time to take care of themselves. She has dedicated the past 8 years researching and educating herself on the latest in health, fitness and parenting so she can share what she has learned with others. She is currently working on her first book with the publication date TBA.

2 Comments

  1. adil hassoune November 15, 2012
  2. Cascia Talbert November 15, 2012

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