10 Healthier Versions of Your Favorite Comfort Foods


A bowl of chili can be a healthy dinner dish, if done correctly. Choose lean meat, plenty of tomatoes, spices and beans, and you've got a meal that's high in protein and fiber. Top it with a sprinkle of cheddar.

Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

Start by choosing Yukon Gold potatoes, which are naturally more flavorful.

"Boil in chicken broth instead of water, and keep your skins because that's where all the minerals and vitamins are," Edison says. "Add in low-fat plain Greek yogurt—or evaporated milk—and salt and pepper. For gravy, if you have a chance to cool it over night, you can scrape the layer of fat off the top. Or, if you're pressed for time, put it in a Ziploc bag and cut a hole in the bottom. The fat will naturally rise to the top."

More: 3 Recipes for Your Turkey Day Feast

Fried Chicken

The champion of comfort foods, fried chicken can be made healthy. Use non-fat milk instead of buttermilk and bread the chicken with Corn Flakes instead of flour. Pan fry it in a healthy oil, such as sunflower or canola, which are low in saturated fats. And although it's called fried chicken, consider baking the dish instead.

Chicken Noodle Soup

Nutrition experts at Penn State University reported that people who start their meals with soup consume 20 percent less calories during that mealtime. On a rainy day, this comfort food is full of fiber, protein and vitamins. To help lighten up the dish, smaller pasta shapes, such as orzo, can be substituted for thick-cut noodles.

Edison's final piece of advice: "If you really love a recipe as it is, fat and all, work on being an intuitive eater. Eating slowly and really enjoying a dish will help you eat less and feel satisfied on fewer calories. Sit down, savor every bite, put food on a plate, and just enjoy."

More: 3 Healthy Comfort Foods for the Winter

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