When we say comfort food, the pleasure that comes with it is typically not a good thing. Many nutritionists do not even recommend utilizing food to soothe our nerves. Luckily, more and more people are choosing to prepare and cook their own for a healthier lifestyle. Before, comfort food meant buying that cheesy slice of commercial pizza or overly greasy fast-food burger. Today, it means transforming our basic kitchen recipes into fun and healthier dishes.
Putting a healthy spin into your favorite comfort food is even more helpful for those who are undergoing wellness treatment for alcohol recovery or drug abuse. Both problems are associated with food addiction. Healthy foods can help provide the body with the energy it needs and restore the immune system affected by any substance abuse or other health problems. Let’s now dive into some healthy tweaks you can try on your comfort food favorites.
Swap or cut the sugar
Consuming too much sugar can mess up your entire health and wellness in various ways. Studies show that it can increase the risks of physical and mental health problems like heart disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and even depression. While too much sugar isn’t a healthy choice, that does not mean you should completely avoid your favorite sweets. There are healthier ways you can enjoy well-loved sweets like chocolate chip cookies, cakes, or brownies.
For instance, for healthier recipes, use alternative or natural sweeteners such as coconut sugar, raw honey, dates, fruit concentrates, maple syrup, and more. If the recipe still requires you to use that regular white or granulated sugar, reduce at least 3/4 cup.
Use heart-healthy oil
With the amazing benefits you can get from health-healthy oil, there’s no reason for you not to incorporate it into your food. While our bodies still need fat for vitamin absorption and energy, too much consumption can result in heart disease. In buying and using oil, it is advisable to choose those types of oil rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat. These include olive, avocado, flaxseed, grapeseed, canola, wheat germ, rice bran, and sesame.
These kinds of oil are healthier replacements for those rich in saturated fat such as palm and coconut oil. It’s worth noting, though, that oil can break down harmful chemicals if high-temperature cooking methods are used, so it’s best to be careful. You can use your oil for drizzling your pasta or on sauces and salad dressings. In terms of availability and affordability, rice bran, canola, and olive oil are the best options.
Learn to love whole grain
The story of whole grain is different from those refined grains that are said to be bad for your health. Studies show that whole grain is linked to various health benefits such as lowering the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. Furthermore, fiber in whole grain is proven to help with healthy digestion and reduce the risk of constipation. Common whole grain varieties include quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat, barley, popcorn, oatmeal, whole rye, millet, and wild rice.
For healthier snacks, you can go for oatcakes or rye crackers. Make sure to still check the label as some products can be high in calories or fat even though they’re made with whole grain. Whole grain is also a great addition to pie, pastries, and cakes. For instance, you can use whole-grain oats to replace one-third of flour when baking.
Be smart with your cheese
Cheese is no question one of the well-loved ingredients for many tasty dishes. This dairy product is available in wide varieties of textures and flavors, which also makes it a flexible ingredient. The problem is that some cheeses contain high levels of calories, fat, and sodium that can be bad for your health. The key here is to wisely choose your cheese and buy the kind that’s a great source of calcium and protein.
Some of the healthier cheese options you can get in the market include mozzarella, blue cheese, feta, and cottage cheese. Take note that some cheese may also aid in weight loss. Be sure to consider your current health situation, goals, or diet when selecting the right cheese to add to your food.
In these uncertain times, we’ve realized that health should be our top priority more than anything else. It’s time to stop relying on unhealthy comfort food choices to get a temporary feeling of stress relief or trigger any emotional response. And while most of these foods can help increase dopamine levels, your body might not actually be happy with your unhealthy choices. Consider these tips for healthy comfort food spin-offs and make your body and mind comfortable and stress-free.