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Even More Healthy Comfort Food

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Even More Healthy Comfort Food

Baby, it's cold outside! Which means you're probably craving hearty comfort foods, right? But there's a problem: the foods that give us comfort-rich stews, pot pies, creamy pastas, substantial meat dishes-are often the ones that pack the highest caloric punch. However, all is not lost. It's still possible to enjoy the stick-to-your-ribs concoctions you love. You just need to choose the right recipes, or make a few changes to the recipes you already use. Here's how:

1. Beef Stew: Although beef is not the leanest meat in general, and stews can often contain a great deal of fat, there are ways to get this classic comfort dish to conform to the parameters a healthy lifestyle. After browning the meat, be sure to drain off the oil and excess fat well. Also, use less meat and more veggies (you can even try cutting the meat content in half and really ramping up the vegetables) and serve this with steamed green vegetables, or a crisp salad. To add an extra health boost, stir spinach into the finished stew and let it wilt. Recipes to try:

2. Creamy Soups: Soup seems like such an innocuous main dish-but it's not, especially when it's creamy and paired with tons of bread and butter. Be sensible when making a cream soup by using potato puree to replace some-if not all-of the milk or cream content. Use light cheese, and less of it, and increase the vegetables in the recipes you use. Or, skip the creamy soup altogether and go for another substantial recipe, like lentil, squash, or chicken noodle. Pair your soup with a salad and multigrain bread with minimal butter, or small amounts of flavoured olive oil and vinegar for dipping. Recipes to try:

3. Asian Food: On busy winter nights, ordering in a substantial Asian meal may seem like a great idea. But take-out can be full of hidden fat and calories, and also isn't very easy on your pocket book. Make your own take-out inspired and oh-so-comforting Asian food spreads by using low sodium soy sauce, cutting back on oil, increasing vegetable amounts, and stir-frying lean meats. Also try with these easy and healthy recipes:

4. Pasta: Big plates filled with meaty, creamy stuffed pasta shells or hunks of lasagne, or enormous plates of spaghetti with meat balls covered in cheese are the stuff midwinter food dreams are made of. Be careful, though, because cream sauces and high-fat ground meats can be major waist-line expanders. Instead, go with herb-laden marinara sauces, cut back on the cream your rose sauce recipe calls for (or replace it with light cream), and use lean and extra lean ground meats, or replace beef with chicken or turkey. Recipes to try:

5. Fried Foods: Fish and chips. Fried chicken. Delicious, yes, but laden with fat. Instead of deep frying anything (or picking up deep fried take out on your way home from work), try dipping chicken breasts or fish fillets in egg whites and rolling in panko or cornmeal, then baking until golden. Also, bake potato wedges or make your own sweet potato fries on the side. Or, get afaux fryfix this way:

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