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For the Love of Food: The New Kind of Comfort Food: Classics That Won’t Tip the Scales

Food Stylist: Aly Wagonseller
Art Director: Kristi Stephenson
Photographer: Dave Smith

Most everyone craves good old-fashioned comfort food from time to time. Especially once the outdoor temperatures start to dip, creamy dishes that are hearty, simple and full of flavor have you wanting more …yet bring your fork to a screeching halt when you consider the exorbitant calorie and fat counts in every tiny bite.  Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to indulge in the flavors of classic comfort food without all the guilt?  Surprisingly, it can be done (and without compromising flavor and satisfaction).


The key to making a successful change in the dietary value of luscious dishes like chicken fried steak and gravy or mac-n-cheese is to avoid going overboard and trying to cut too many calories and fat grams all at once.  Flavor is derived from fat. If you leave every drop of it out, you may just wind up with a lackluster creation that’s a major disappointment to the taste buds.  Think about balancing ingredients with the goal of obtaining optimal health and cutting back, not total elimination. If you’re using full fat cheese in your macaroni recipe, nix the cream and choose skim or 2% milk instead. Forego the chintzy spritz of cooking spray and instead swirl a dose of canola or olive oil into your pan for sautéing.  These are healthy fats and are necessary to achieve the crispy crust and depth of flavor in most gravies and sauces.  Choose ingredients that don’t deviate much in flavor and texture from their gut busting counterparts.  Low and no fat sour creams and cream cheese taste virtually identical to the original, with nearly identical consistency, an important consideration for a velvety outcome.  Remember – comfort food isn’t something most of us eat at every meal, so making a 450-500 calorie version of a dish that normally weighs in at 1200 calories or more, still does your waistline a huge favor while satisfying your craving for a delicious dish.

We’ve got skinnier versions of the most popular comfort foods on the dinner table.  They’re all surprisingly delish, yet lower in calories and fat – allowing you to eat to your stomach’s content…without tipping the scales. 

Print and Save the Recipes Below!

Skinny Chicken-Fried Steak

Turkey Shepherd’s Pie

Tuna Noodle Casserole 

Peanut Butter Banana Pudding


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