Ask anyone what they consider to be a comfort food and you’ll get a mix match of answers – it could be mashed potatoes, fried chicken, French fries, ice cream, pizza, mac and cheese, or maybe grilled cheese sandwiches. Not exactly health foods but I have no doubt they have all comforted someone at some time in their lives.
However, no one ever said that the only foods that can comfort us automatically have to be something high in fat or high in calories. Comfort foods can be any food that satisfies your hunger and that includes some foods that recently have become more trendy and mainstream than ever before. These foods are actually all quite healthy doing the job of providing both nourishing nutrients and comfort just when we need it.
Here are a listing of the new foods you may find yourself turning to in times of comforting. They fill you up without filling you out with each providing valuable nutrients keeping you healthy.
· Spaghetti squash
Talk about a perfect substitute for pasta. Spaghetti squash is about as close of an alternative for spaghetti without actually being spaghetti. If you’ve never cooked or tasted spaghetti squash, run don’t walk to buy it. When cooked, the inside flesh separates with a fork into spaghetti-like strands but without nearly as many carbs as traditional spaghetti contains. One cup of spaghetti squash has only 42 calories compared to a cup of cooked spaghetti with over 200 calories. It also only has 10 grams of total carbohydrates which is about one-fourth of what you get from pasta. Spaghetti squash also provides about 2.5 grams of fiber and contains several important nutrients such as vitamin C and A, potassium and calcium.
· Mashed cauliflower
Whenever a craving for mashed potatoes comes knocking on your tummy’s door, try mashed cauliflower instead. This comfort food has been trending for a while and for good reason. Cauliflower’s mild flavor makes it a great substitute for potatoes that many people claim they don’t even notice the difference in taste. One cup of cauliflower delivers 77 percent of the recommended daily value for vitamin C and it’s also a good source of vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, potassium and fiber.
Meatloaf I’m sure has been a comfort food for many but to really turn it into a healthy comfort food, you’ve got to add in some veggies. First, start with extra-lean ground beef such as ground round. Ground round is mostly red throughout with little marbling. Then, throw in some tasty vegetables such as chopped bell pepper, onion and mushrooms. These veggies not only add bulk to a meatloaf but also some prime nutrients to boost meatloaf’s nutritional power making it a comfort food without the guilt.
· Butternut squash
Here is another squash to add to your list of healthy comfort foods. Butternut squash looks and tastes totally different from spaghetti squash but is very delicious, filling and fits the bill for providing comfort without too many calories or carbs. Rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals, it delivers an ample supply of fiber, potassium, vitamin B6, and folate. When you open up a butternut squash, you’ll be wowed by the beautiful tangerine color indicating it’s most powerful health perk – it is brimming with carotenoids that can protect against heart disease and beta-carotene that may reduce age-related macular degeneration. Plus, one cup of butternut squash provides nearly half the amount recommended daily of vitamin C.
This ancient grain is a top contender when it comes to trendy foods. Except this food trend is going to have staying power. Not only is this grain gluten-free, it’s also a whole grain high in antioxidantsand just a half cup offers the following nutrients – 11 grams of protein, 4.2 mg of iron, 275 mg of phosphorus, 336 mg of potassium, 2.8 mg of niacin, and 6 grams of fiber. Sorghum can even be popped just like popcorn but the kernels are much smaller but just as tasty. You’ll find yourself turning to sorghum for its ability to nourish and comfort.