As it becomes colder, I tend to crave high-calorie comfort foods like macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, creamy soups, and cakes.
Can you suggest some nutritious ways of making them?
-- Sarah S.
Absolutely. The key is to recreate these dishes in healthier, lower-calorie ways.
When it comes to mac and cheese, try whole wheat pasta. The higher fiber content will help you feel fuller faster.
If you find the change too sudden, make your dish half whole wheat pasta and half regular pasta.
When making the cheese sauce, use 1% milk, rather than whole. Also, cut the amount of butter asked for in the recipe by half.
To give the sauce extra thickness, add some cornstarch.
I also suggest using reduced-fat cheddar cheese (I highly recommend the Cabot brand) and then sprinkling some parmesan cheese at the end for extra taste that doesn't add too many calories.
When all is said and done, you will have saved yourself hundreds of calories and quite a bit of saturated fat. Best part? Your tastebuds will be just as pleased.
For homemade mashed potatoes, leave the skins on. Again, this provides a boost of fiber.
Then, replace the butter and milk in the recipe with olive oil (replace the suggested amount of butter with half as much olive oil.)
I have also made some delicious mashed potatoes by substituting whole milk with either 1% milk, plain soy milk, or unsweetened soy milk.
For creamy, lower-calorie soups, I suggest using corn starch or stale French bread as a thickener.
Using stale bread in this context is quite foreign to people in the United States, but very common in many European countries.
This will give soups hearty volume without tacking on saturated fat or an abundance of calories.
Another tip? Try a touch of Silk soy creamer (in its original flavor.)
And so we come to cake.
The best advice I can give you there is never to have an entire cake (or even half of one) sitting in your kitchen counter. It's too easy to cut a tiny slice, followed by another, and another, and another.
When it comes to choices, though, opt for a lower-calorie cake like angel's food cake first.
Top it off with the fresh fruit of your choice and up to 4 tablespoons of Reddi Whip (that adds, at most, 30 calories and 1 gram of sugar) and you have a slice of cake -- with fixins! -- that clocks in at less than 250 calories!
Hope this helps.