Healthy Alternatives to Your Favorite Comfort Food
Have you found yourself craving food that you know is terrible for you? Often late at night or when you are the most exhausted?
People eat for reasons other than hunger. Food can be a remedy for emotional pain, boredom, and sometimes simply a deeply ingrained habit.
In my case, a lot of my less healthy food cravings were associated with family traditions and social events. I come from a large Italian American family. A lot of the dishes I grew up with like lasagna, homemade pizza, and pastas of all shapes and sizes are comfort food for me.
As I have become more conscious about my eating habits and my weight with regards to competing, I have found ways to satisfy these cravings rather than quit my favorites.
When your body gives you cues that you want or need a certain food, it is far easier and more effective to eat something healthy of a similar taste and texture rather than try to will yourself away from the decision.
Here are a couple of my favorites.
Zoodles Instead of Noodles
Zoodles are noodles spiralized from zucchini or squash. I use a simple hand version of the spiralizer. It is fast, easy, and the zoodles are full of fiber and vitamins. Here is an avocado pesto recipe that I love:
• 1 avocado ripe
• 1 clove garlic
• ½ cup fresh basil leaves
• 1 Tbsp lemon juice
• 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• Water as needed
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 2-3 zucchini spiralized or cut into ¼ inch wide strips
1. In a food processor, blend avocado, garlic, basil leaves and lemon juice until smooth, then mix in extra virgin olive oil.
2. Add water, 1 Tbsp at a time, until sauce reaches a fluid yet thick consistency.
3. Add a dash of salt and pepper to taste.
4. Saute zoodles on stove over medium/high heat until slightly soft and bright green. Drain excess water.
5. In large bowl, toss zoodles with sauce, then top with parmesan cheese. You made not need all of the sauce, so add it until you’ve reached your liking.
I will also use the zoodles as a base for meat sauce dishes. I can indulge in a full plate of zoodles without over eating. Find the recipe here.
Carrot and Cucumber Chips Instead of Potato Chips
The craving for something crunchy and salty can be real. Substitute fresh or baked carrot chips to satisfy that need and get another serving of veggies in. Fresh thinly sliced carrot chips are often available in the produce section of the grocery store. A crinkle cutter is a fast easy way to create this texture at home. For a dryer crunch, the chips can also be salted, seasoned, and baked.
Mashed Cauliflower instead of Mashed Potatoes
This food can be prepared far faster than actual mashed potatoes and is a much healthier alternative.
• 1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into florets
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 2 cloves garlic, chopped into quarters
• 3 tablespoons milk
• 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
• chives or rosemary for garnish (optional)
1. Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add the cauliflower florets and turn the heat down to medium. Cook covered for 15 minutes until cauliflower is soft and tender.
2. Meanwhile, heat butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Saute the garlic for about 2 minutes until soft. Set aside.
3. When the cauliflower is cooked, remove from heat and drain.
4. In a food processor, add the cooked cauliflower, sautéed garlic and the butter it was cooked in, milk, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Puree until smooth.
5. Serve hot and sprinkle some chives or rosemary on top.
If you loved these recipes, here are more spiralizer recipes for you to enjoy, on Jen Reviews!