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Finding a Comfort Level with Comfort Foods

Make your family's comfort foods a bit healthier this holiday season.

Over the past few weeks many traditional or “comfort” foods may have graced your table and since these foods might only appear once a year the inclination is to enjoy them as much as you want. While this is fine, you can find a midpoint that allows for enjoyment and some degree of healthy eating.

Enjoying the special foods of the season is part of what makes the season special but if recipes still retain the more traditional high fat, high sugar, high calorie bent it might be time to make some modifications.

Recipe changes that are easy to make include the following:

  • Use liquid oil margarines in place of butter or solid shortening
  • Blend whole grains with more processed grains by serving stuffing made with wheat and white bread or whole wheat flour in the pancakes
  • Switch out some egg yolks for whites or egg substitutes
  • Prepare gravies and sauces from fat-free broth instead of meat drippings
  • Choose evaporated skim milk for pies or even some cream based dishes
  • Try non-fat Greek yogurt in place of sour cream, mayo or cream
  • Reduce sugar in recipes by ¼ without missing it at all
  • Boost cinnamon, nutmeg or vanilla to enhance the flavor of baked goods
  • Make one recipe change at a time so if it doesn’t work you know why
  • Make changes slowly so that you don’t ruin the flavor of the dish

In addition to recipe changes, you can maintain the comfort of traditional foods by choosing smaller portions, by eating more slowly to savor the flavor and by focusing on enjoying the company you are with not just the food being served.

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