Good things are coming down the road.
Just don't stop walking.
Fall, the time of year when comfort food cravings really settle in. There are creamy and hearty soups and chowders, cheesy lasagnas and casseroles drenched in cream-of-something soup. But that comfort often comes with a pretty hefty cost: lots of carbs and calories, fat and sodium. But it doesn't have to be that way, nutrition and food experts say.
Tips for healthier cooking and eating
- The fresher the produce, the better the flavor. Use lots of herbs, spices and flavored oils in your cooking. Add herbs at the beginning and the end of cooking as it brightens up the dish. You want to eliminate the salt and some of the fat, but still keep the flavor.
- Roast vegetables or double up on them as it is an easy way to add flavor to your veggies.
- Substitute a whole egg in a recipe with two egg whites.
- Replace white bread with whole wheat and/or sprouted bread.
- Switch chocolate by choosing dark chocolate with at least 70 percent cocoa instead of milk or white chocolate.
- Replace noodles in lasagna with grilled zucchini or eggplant. If a recipe calls for two cups of pasta, use one and add more vegetables.
- Make macaroni and cheese with whole-wheat noodles, low-fat milk, and low-fat cheese for a healthy substitute.
- Eat almonds if you are craving a salty snack as they are one of the most nutritious nuts.
- Keep creamy taste of mashed potatoes by using buttermilk If a recipe calls for two cups of pasta, use one and add more vegetables.
- Replace one cup of sugar with 2/3 cup and add extra sweetness through vanilla, sweet spices and fruit.
- Cut fat from baked goods by replacing fat or oil recommendations with Greek yogurt, canned pumpkin or applesauce.
- Add thickness to soup by adding pureed beans or split peas. It’ll make your soup creamier, more filling and add fiber and protein.
Mac and Cheese Healthy MakeoverCook's notes: Mac and Cheese recipe was lightened up by using less of the higher-fat ingredients, and substituting in whole grains and vegetables. Recipe adapted from http://pickyeaterblog.com/ and serves 4.
- 8 ounces whole-wheat elbow noodles, (2 cups)
- 1-2 cups fresh broccoli florets – cut small
- 1- 10 oz. bag of baby spinach or baby kale (optional)
- 2-3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- 1 3/4 cups 1% milk, divided
- 3 TB. flour
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1 cup shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1/4-1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
- Optional: dash crushed red pepper flakes to give it some kick
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain set aside in pot to keep warm.
- Add fresh broccoli to a pan over medium heat, saute with minced garlic, crushed red pepper, and a pinch of salt until slightly tender. Add kale/spinach towards the end and cook until the greens are wilted.
- Meanwhile, heat 1-1/2 cups milk in another large pot over medium-high heat until just simmering. Whisk the remaining 1/4 cup milk, flour, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a small bowl until combined. Add the flour mixture to the simmering milk; return to a simmer and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture is thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and whisk in Cheddar, Parmesan and mustard until the cheese is melted.
- Add pasta to the cheese sauce. Add your veggies into the pasta mixture, and heat through (on low heat) until everything is combined.