So, you want to eat clean? But, you don’t know where to start when it comes to cooking up dishes that are clean, low calorie, and good for your heart. Plus, it’s discouraging to think about all your favorite comfort foods you’re going to miss out on eating!
Don’t worry. Eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to give up on delicious foods that warm your soul. Often, you only need to make a few tweaks, substitute some ingredients, and swap out the fryer for the oven to create a healthy, yummy dish.
Here are three comfort foods you can make healthier.
Swap Fried French Fries for Baked
Butter, oil, and salt — it’s no wonder french fries get a bad rap when it comes to clean eating. Not to mention, if you’re rolling through a fast-food joint, your “small snack” is jam-packed with preservatives and other add-ins that bump up the calorie count and strip the potato of its health benefits (yes! Potatoes CAN be healthy).
So, if you’re craving french fries, swap the deep fryer for an air fryer — or even just your oven. This one switch will cut down on all those fats, inflammatory oils, and sodium. And leave behind vitamin C, potassium (more than a banana!), and vitamin B6. Plus, when you leave the skin on freshly cut potatoes, you also get a boost in fiber.
Here are a few more tips:
Swap Stuffed Twice-Baked Potato for Sweet Potato
We get it. Stuffed Twice-Baked Potatoes are what dreams are made of…and also a calorie nightmare. But, if you swap out some of the ingredients for healthier choices, you can sleep well knowing what you’re eating isn’t packing on the pounds.
First and foremost, swap out those baked potatoes for sweet potatoes! Yes, we did talk about how baked potatoes have health benefits, but since this dish is stuffed with other goodness, you can cut down calories in this area.
Plus, sweet potatoes keep your immune system strong, provide potassium, and keep blood sugar spikes at bay.
For starters, you can swap sour cream for lower-fat greek yogurt. And add veggies, like spinach, kale, onions, or whatever you have on hand for additional nutrition. We really love this twice-baked potato recipe and this one.
Swap Southern Fried Chicken for Baked “Fried” Chicken
If you don’t eat fried chicken, are you really a Southerner? Sure, it’s a staple dish in any Mid-South home, but like french fries, the oil, fat, and salt can lead to heart disease and diabetes.
However, you can take a few steps to satisfy your taste buds without compromising your health. For example, buy skinless drumsticks and thighs or remove the skin yourself. This step results in less fat in your dish.
Then, substitute flour with bread crumbs for fewer calories. And much like those french fries, you can use an air fryer to achieve that crispy “fried” taste or bake the chicken in your oven. Here are two recipes you can follow to get your southern fix without the guilt: Oven-Fried Recipe and Air-Fryer Recipe.
Eating clean can seem like a daunting task. Or, as if, you’re giving up all the foods you love. But, by making a few tweaks to your cooking (and cooking at home instead of dining out), you can enjoy all your favorite comfort foods while boosting your nutrition, losing weight, and staying healthy.
Of course, exercising is also important, so before you go, check out our tips for a pain-free exercise routine.