Comfort Food Makeover

When you want to warm up a fall night or turn around a bad day, it can be tempting to reach for comfort delivered on a platter. But relying on food as a happiness boost can lead to an expanding waistline. Don’t let your favorite comfort dishes weigh you down. With these healthy twists, they’ll leave you happy and healthy in no time.

Comfort food: Fluffy Pancakes

Nothing says good morning on a brisk fall day like a plate stacked high with flapjacks. But this carb-filled meal with leave you sluggish by lunch. Try subbing out your usual thickening agent for Greek yogurt, and you’ll sneak in some protein and cut down on saturated fat.  

Comfort Food: Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

Melted cheese between buttered bread is prefect for dipping into steamy, creamy tomato soup. This longtime classic way of warming -- and cheering -- up is easy to whip up. Minimize the carbs by melting the cheese over the cup and cutting out the bread, similar to French onion soup. Lighten it up even more by using low-fat milk and cheese.

Comfort Food: French Fries

Whether they come from the drive thru or your freezer, french fries are at the top of the comfort list. Lessen the nutritional blow by cutting out the “fry,” and bake them yourself.  Lightly season the finger-licking food with sea salt and herbs of your choice, and you’ll be on your way to feeling better about your day -- and what you’re eating.  

Lasagna

This delightful dish has pleased many a diner. What could be bad about stacking pasta, meat, cheese and sauce? Well, not much -- aside from the fat and heavy-handed, cholesterol-laden ingredients. Lessen the lasagna load by buying low-fat ricotta and mozzarella. You can also swap spinach for ground beef, making it a great meal for Meatless Mondays.

Comfort Food: Chocolate Cake

Chocolate. Is there really a better food that can help make it all better than chocolate? Oh, yes … cake. Cake is pretty good too, making chocolate cake the best of any sweet combo when it comes to comfort. Subbing in ingredients like applesauce and zucchini makes this dessert practically guilt-free.