Winter Blues – Comfort Food Doesn’t Have to Mean Unhealthy
We are now approaching our second month of winter and with it, the refusal of the mercury to budge above zero. Despite our best intentions from New Year’s Resolutions, we are all craving our homemade favourites to warm us up and boost our spirits.
However, some of these favourites, while incredibly yummy, aren’t delivering us the ideal ratio of macronutrients. We could reduce the portion and serve with a healthier side or we can change the recipes themselves! That’s why this month’s blog is about tackling common nutrition issues with the foods we already love with simple ingredient swaps and thinking outside of the (pizza) box!
Nutrition Issue: I am trying to decrease my intake of refined carbohydrates (white potatoes, white pasta, white flour, etc.). What can I do?
For Shepherd’s Pie:
- Try substituting some, or all, of the mashed potatoes with mashed cauliflower
For Macaroni and Cheese or Pasta dishes:
- Try out a new noodle! Zucchini noodles are very low in carbohydrates but they are not alone. There are plenty of bean- and legume-based noodles that are lower in carbohydrates while delivering an extra protein punch.
- Start treating pasta dishes like a stir-fry by reducing the pasta and increasing the veggies
- Try alternatives to traditional pizza crust like cauliflower or legume-based crusts
Nutrition Issue: I am trying to increase my fibre and vegetable intake, what can I do?
For chili or shepherd’s pie:
- Try substituting lentils for ground beef, or doing 50/50.
- Add or double up on carrots, stewed tomatoes, chopped spinach, broccoli and sneak them into the sauce
For Macaroni and Cheese, Pasta dishes, and Noodle soups:
- Substitute whole grain, bean-based, or buckwheat noodles for white pasta when possible for an added fibre punch
- Add in finely chopped spinach, kale, broccoli, or tomatoes – or whatever vegetables you like!
Nutrition Issue: I am trying to decrease my saturated fat intake, what can I do?
For Macaroni and Cheese or Pasta sauces
- Substitute blended cottage cheese for some of the cheddar for a creamy lower fat, higher protein alternative
For Curries and Soups
- Reduce cream and coconut cream, or substitute partially with 2% milk or a non-dairy milk alternative
Life isn’t black and white so why are we treating food this way? Enjoy in moderation and remember, comfort food doesn’t have to be unhealthy!