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How to Make Comfort Foods Better for You

Created December 19, 2022
It’s easy to enjoy guilt-free comfort food. With these tips, Betty will show how you can give classic comfort foods a healthy twist without sacrificing any flavor.

There are times when all we crave is some good old-fashioned comfort food. Unfortunately, these usually have an unhealthy profile: too much fat, too many calories and too few nutrients. That's where Betty comes in. She has some tasty tricks with her whisk that let you enjoy those classic comfort food favorites with better for you options.

Swap smart. There is no need to flip your favorite traditional recipe on its head. Start with small changes, like increasing the number of vitamins, fiber and minerals. Then think about tweaks to lower the calories and saturated fats.

Choose light and low. Pick up low-fat cheeses for tacos and pasta dishes. Choose low-sodium broth for soups and stews. Use light margarine instead of butter and reduced-fat sour cream instead of the regular version in your mashed potatoes. Instead of dairy ingredients, try low-sodium broth and dried rosemary — perfect substitutes for mashed potatoes.

Boost fruits and veggies. You can easily increase the number of veggies you use in recipes like stews, chicken pot pie, and chicken noodle soup by adding pureed cooked veggies — carrots, sweet potatoes and squash. Add lots of chopped broccoli to macaroni and cheese for a new classic. And top your small slice of cheesecake with lots of fruit.

Make it lean. Skin poultry before adding it to soups and use turkey or chicken breast meat. For stews, chunk up lean cuts of meat — top, bottom or eye roasts — and use less than the recipe suggests.

Go for whole grains. Replace traditional pasta with varieties made from whole grain and regular breadcrumbs with whole wheat panko. Use brown rice instead of white and whole wheat flour for crusts.

Comfort, Reborn

To show you how easy it is to remake the classics, Betty gave three of the most popular comfort foods a better-for-you makeover.

How to Make Lighter Lasagna

Tips for Making French Toast Better for You

  • Use cooking spray instead of oil or butter to brown the toast.
  • Make it with whole wheat bread.
  • Dip the bread in 2 parts egg substitute to 1 part whole egg.
  • Use skim milk instead of whole milk.
  • Top with fresh chopped peaches or sliced berries instead of syrup.
  • Give these recipes a try:

How to Make Lighter Pizza

  • Use whole wheat flour for the crust.
  • Cover it with plenty of low-calorie sauce and veggies.
  • Sprinkle it with a small amount of low-fat mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
  • If you need a meat topper, try turkey pepperoni or turkey sausage.
  • Give these recipes a try:

Looking for even more better-for-you meal ideas? Check out Betty's cookbook, "300 Calorie Comfort Food: 300 Favorite Recipes for Eating Healthy Every Day."

Want to learn more health and diet tips? We’ve got them!