- No offense to our best friends, family, and partners who have always been there for us when we need them. If there’s another thing we rely on during times of stress, heartbreak, despair, or PMS, its comfort food.
Although there are many ways to combat stress, eating seems to be the easiest solution, doesn’t it? Some call it stress eating, we call it relief. Every bite feels like getting a hug in caloric, sugary form. There’s nothing wrong with treating ourselves to food loaded with carbs, caffeine, and sugar every now and then; just don’t allow it to develop into an addiction you can no longer control. Admit it though; indulging in our favorite comfort food comes with a tinge of shame.
One way to feel less guilty about our indulgences is to replace them with healthier alternatives. Healthier options don’t have to taste bland. After your first bite, these will definitely make you forget about the traditional recipes.
- We all love gooey and cheesy sandwiches, but how do we turn a comfort food staple into something more nutritious without compromising taste? First, choose the kind of cheese with more distinct flavors so you won’t have to use as much. Not only do you get more leftover cheese for next time, you also cut down on the amount of fat and calories. Instead of using typical white bread slices, go whole-grain for more fibrous content. Any green veggies packed in between the bread are guaranteed to make your classic grilled cheese sandwich tastier and healthier.
- Summer’s fast approaching and there’s nothing like Ben &Jerry’s or some Coldstone Creamery Ice Cream to save the day right? Although the texture may not be the same, frozen yogurt or Greek yogurt as replacement also does the trick since it tastes just like ice cream. An even more cost-efficient option includes making your own fruit shake from the comfort of your own home.
- Is there even an alternative to chocolate? You might be familiar with dark chocolate being abundant in antioxidants which help protect from cholesterol, heart ailments and aging. If you’re just craving something sweet in general, eating fruits will replace your sugary cravings. Something that similarly resembles chocolate is carob. These are usually sold in powder form, syrup, or as chocolate-like chips. Adding cocoa powder to other snacks and drinks can also help in alleviating your chocolate cravings.
- Deep dish, New York slices, pizza cone, stuffed crust and the list goes on. Abandoning pizza almost feels like a mortal sin. No one can really give it up completely, but we can mix up the toppings to make a healthier version. Luckily, pizza is pretty versatile and people won’t judge you for the ingredients you choose to top it with. The possibilities are endless!
- Replace them with sweet potatoes, carrots, or any other fried veggies. Zucchini and okra work too. If you just can’t seem to part from your potatoes, frying them in healthier oils like olive oil, canola oil and sunflower oil will definitely cut down the calories. Another option includes oven-baking the veggie of your choice. These are just as addictive and scrumptious as those McDonald’s fries.
Beer, Coffee, Soda
- Just because it keeps you awake, alert and gives you an energy boost whenever you need it, it doesn’t mean it’s good for your body. Sugary and caffeinated drinks like soda and coffee increase your risks of obesity and diabetes.
So, aside from water, of course, what else can we replace these addicting drinks with? Sparkling water mixed with fruit juice can give you the sugar you crave for while still keeping the calorie count in check. Iced tea, sweetened or unsweetened, is both refreshing and all natural. Having a fancy dinner that just can’t do without a tinge of alcohol? Substitute wine for beer instead. Thirst quenchers don’t always have to be fused with fructose.
- Just as long as you’re willing to walk off all the calories that you consume, you don’t have to feel guilty about the food that makes you feel at ease.
"Secrets from the Eating Lab: The Science of Weight Loss, the Myth of Willpower, and Why YouShould Never Diet Again” author Traci Mann reminds us “People don't need a justification to enjoy their comfort foods. People should be allowed to enjoy the foods they like."
Rather than completely banning all sorts of comfort food in your home, switch over to healthier versions of your favorite chips, cookies, and fries. Comfort food allows us to have the best of both worlds by nourishing our emotions and body.