Winter Comfort Foods Healthy Makeover

When the weather gets cold the urge to reach for traditional winter comfort foods sounds like a great idea, who doesn’t love a nice bowl of your favorite chili or warm brownies and cakes to warm you up?  This could be why so many Americans pack on the pounds during the winter.  Stop the weight gain before it starts with some yummy and easy to make winter comfort foods that will satisfy your stomach and your waistline!

Give your favorite dish a healthy makeover: Whether it is macaroni and cheese or mashed potatoes there is always a way to make these dishes healthier.  By simply swapping out traditional ingredients for healthier options your on your way to enjoying winter comfort with out the guilt Try these healthy recipes!

Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

This recipe has become a favorite of even the most die-hard mashed potato lovers. You’d be surprised how much cauliflower can taste like regular mashed potatoes. You still get that creamy taste you love and you get your veggies in at the same time!

Full recipe:

2 medium heads cauliflower, cleaned and cut into small pieces

4 oz cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

2 garlic cloves, minced

3/4 tsp salt

3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

5 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened (Brummel & Brown non-fat yogurt butter or Smart Balance)

1/4 cup green onions, chopped (optional garnish)

Prep work:

Pour 3 quarts of water in a 5-qt stock pot and add 1 tsp salt. Bring the water to a boil, and then add the cauliflower. Cook for about 8 minutes, or until well done.

Drain well, then pat the cooked cauliflower dry between several layers of paper towels. Remove as much water as possible.

In a food processor or a bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, purée the hot cauliflower with the cream cheese, Parmesan, garlic, salt, pepper, and butter until almost smooth. Serve immediately with a garnish of the green onions, if desired.

Calories: 107, 7grams of fat

Foods rich in fiber and whole grains will keep you full and satisfied at the same time:  Having a nice bowl of warm soup is perfect for lunch and or dinner.  By adding whole grains and fiber rich ingredients you are sure to stay full and keep warm at the same time.   My favorite comfort food soup is this one:

Something sweet without the guilt: Just because it’s dessert doesn’t mean you have to wreck your diet!  Check out this low calorie sweet delight to keep you satisfied. 

Spiced Apple Butter Bran Muffins

Bring on the apples and apple butter! These spiced apple butter muffins are moist and delicious, and by using low fat milk and replacing sugar with brown sugar or Truvia/Stevia you’re eliminating a lot of the naughtiness regular muffins have in them! Remember – these are still baked goods so eat them in moderation (if you can)!

Full recipe:

1/2 cup(s) raisins or golden raisins

3/4 cup(s) whole-wheat flour

3/4 cup(s) all-purpose flour

2 1/2 teaspoon(s) baking powder

1/4 teaspoon(s) salt

1/2 teaspoon(s) ground cinnamon

3/4 cup(s) unprocessed wheat bran or oat bran

2 egg whites, lightly beaten

1/2 cup(s) low-fat milk

1/2 cup(s) spiced apple butter

1/2 cup(s) packed light brown sugar, or 1/4 cup Truvia or Stevia Sugar Blend for Baking

1/4 cup(s) canola oil

3 tablespoon(s) molasses

1 cup(s) finely diced peeled apple

Prep work:

Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat 12 standard 2 1/2-inch muffin cups with cooking spray. Place raisins in a small bowl and cover with hot water. Set aside.

Whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl. Stir in bran.

Whisk egg whites, milk, apple butter, brown sugar (or Truvia/Stevia), oil and molasses in a large bowl until blended. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Drain the raisins; add them and the diced apple to the bowl. Stir until just combined. Scoop the batter into the prepared pan (the cups will be very full).

Bake the muffins until the tops spring back when touched lightly, 18 to 22 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Loosen the edges and turn the muffins out onto a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.

To sneak in some antioxidant goodness try sprinkling chia seeds on top!

Calories: 197, Total Fat: 6grams

Winter Comfort Foods Healthy Makeover

By Nadia Murdock @nadiamurdockfit