The fall weather brings with it rainy days and cooler temperatures. We start to transition our wardrobes to longer sleeves, sweaters, longer socks and warmer pants.
With these changes also come changes in our diets–or at least our cravings–for the season. Comfort foods that will keep us warm (and are delicious!) are a staple of this time of year.
But how do we reconcile our cravings and our desire for familiar and comforting foods when also trying to live a healthier lifestyle?
Most of us think about comfort foods as thick starchy, cheesy, or stuffed meals–like loaded mashed potatoes, ooey, gooey macaroni and cheese, foods with warm gravies, or sweet treats like apple pie and chocolate cake.
Wow! Makes me hungry just thinking about these wonderful dishes. However, I am not completely ready to give us all my eating well all year long for the indulgences of the season.
So what should we do when our favorite comfort foods do not fit in our current dietary calorie count or our protein, carb or sugar goals? Should we ignore our cravings for the stuffed, creamy, cheesy or chocolaty treat?
Here are a few suggestions:
- Enjoy your favorite comfort cravings in moderation.
You don’t have to deny yourself the foods you love or that have traditionally brought you good memories of other times in your life. If you are watching your calorie count or eliminating your carb intake–the best way to enjoy them is by having a small portion of them. You can give into the cravings without spoiling your nutritional plan.
2. Look for healthier alternatives to your favorite recipes.
The internet is full of wonderful recipes and healthy alternatives that are delicious and can replace some of our old comfort food favorites. Alternatives to your comfort favorites will provide you the joy and yes–the comfort–of eating what you want while keeping your nutritional goals in mind.
3. Create brand new comfort food recipes of your own.
It is so much fun to experiment in the kitchen and combine your favorite flavors to create a meal that is comforting, delicious and truly your own. This is the best of all worlds combined, you can enjoy the foods and flavors you love and maintain your health goals at the same time.
This is the season, when the weather gets cooler that the lure of comfort foods calls to us. Find the right balance and enjoy!