When you’re choosing the wrong comfort food, you can end up feeling guilty for all the extra calories. Avoid that problem by being more careful about your choices, and adapting comfort food to avoid the high amounts of carbs and saturated fats.
Find out which are usually the worst comfort foods, with a single serving sometimes delivering more calories than you need in a day. Try these helpful tips to make your favorite comfort foods less dangerous for your waistline and you’ll be able to get the best of both worlds.
Mac and Cheese
Drenched in fatty cheese, this comfort food is even enriched with bacon in some recipes, resulting in an absolute caloric disaster. In order to tone down the fat, don’t use extra cheese and forget about processed meat. Instead, make it with whole wheat pasta and add some veggies like carrots or spinach. You can also use less regular cheese and mix it with a low-fat yogurt to keep the calorie count down.
Fried Chicken and Waffles
From the refined carbs to the trans fats, this classic is definitely one of the worst comfort foods when it comes to calories and nutritional value. Making the waffles with whole wheat flour and baking the chicken instead of deep frying it can definitely make this treat healthier. However, you should always stick to reasonable portions.
Forget about red meat and start making your meatloaf with turkey. Depending on the recipe, meatloaf can pack plenty of calories in even small portions. Substituting the red meat, using oats instead of breadcrumbs and doubling down on the veggies will turn it into a healthier treat while also keeping it delicious.
When you add cheese and meat to nachos, you’re turning them into a calorie bomb, and portion control is almost impossible. If you’re ordering them when you’re eating out, they can turn into one of the worst comfort foods. To make a less fattening version, skip the meat and just add low-fat cheese and sour cream to baked chips.
Whether they’re topped with shrimp, chicken or bacon, Fettuccine Alfredo are already full of calories thanks to the delicious, but fatty cream sauce. The combination of butter and Parmesan cheese can be replaced by using evaporated skim milk instead of heavy cream. Already high in fat and sodium, the Fettuccine Alfredo you get in restaurants could definitely use vegetables instead of meat or shrimp.
Chicken Pot Pie
The two layers of pastry are high in fat, and the creamy filling is very rich in calories even by itself. If you’re making your own, you can make one of the worst comfort foods a bit healthier by using low fat milk instead of the fatty sauce, or just skip it altogether and choose roasted or baked chicken with a vegetable side-dish.
Unless you perfect your own light cheesecake, you’re likely to overindulge with a single slice. Just as bad as pies a la mode, cheesecake may be satisfying, but it also comes at a price: plenty of saturated fats and a lot of calories. Try a cream cheese muffin instead.
Cheesy pizzas are one of the worst comfort foods, since you’re not likely to stop after one or two slices. When you add processed meat, like pepperoni, the levels of saturated fat and sodium are getting dangerous. Ordering a vegetable pizza with less mozzarella is one option, but you can also make a more satisfying pie yourself, using a whole wheat crust and turkey pepperoni.
Out of all the fried side-dishes you can order when you’re feeling down, onion rings are definitely the worst. While French fries are also packed with saturated and trans fats, onion rings have more calories thanks to their fatty batter that only gets worse when it’s deep fried.
The combination of meat with a lot of cheese makes them one of the worst comfort foods, particularly if they’re drowned in sour cream. Replace them altogether with burritos, that mix meat and beans for a satisfying treat, or make a healthier version yourself, by using Greek yogurt instead of cream and adding less cheese.