Comfort foods don’t have to be unhealthy. Most can be made more nutritious without losing their appeal. Try these suggestions for adjusting your favorite recipes to fit the proportions of the New American Plate.
1. Make Substitutions
- Prepare lower fat or healthier comfort foods by substituting one ingredient for another (e.g. skim milk instead of cream or olive oil in place of butter)
2. Add Healthful Ingredients
- Add healthful ingredients such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans to enhance the nutritional quality of the recipe (e.g. Add diced bell peppers and zucchini to spaghetti sauce or a variety of beans to chili)
3. Serve Smaller Portions
- Comfort foods are often served as meals themselves. Instead serve your comfort foods such as beef stew or man-n-cheese as a “1/3”ratio from the New American Plate (www.aicr.org/new-american-plate) which leaves room to add a servings of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and/or a salad to fill the “2/3” remainder.
4. Save Some Foods for Special Occasions
- Some recipes may be impossible to modify while maintaining the same level of flavor and texture. Enjoy traditional comfort foods less frequently and in smaller portions. You don’t need to completely give up eating the foods you love.