Everybody has them -- and they're very
personal. Elvis favored the fried peanut butter and banana sandwich. Oprah
relies on sweet potatoes. Comfort foods. Foods that provide more than physical
sustenance -- they're also like a warm fuzzy blanket for your soul. Yours might
be mashed potatoes. Someone else might choose bacon and eggs. Or macaroni and
cheese. One person's favorite may not even register with another.
A study by Cornell University's Food and
Brand Lab shows that men and women differ in their preferred comfort food.
"Males tended to prefer meal-related comfort foods, things like steak,
hamburgers, pasta, casseroles and soup," says researcher Brian Wansink.
Women, on the other hand, tend to reach for snack-related foods, such as potato
chips, cookies and candy. Wansink attributes this to women's association of
meal-type foods with preparation and cleanup, which they consider taking care
of others, not themselves.
Unfortunately many comfort foods aren't
very nutritious, so even though you are easing your stress, you're burdening
your body with calories and fat. We all know what happened to Elvis!
This doesn't have to be the case, however.
We've done makeovers on some favorite recipes to make them healthier, without
losing the flavors that bring us that familiar, cozy comfort. Eliminating
comfort foods for a healthier diet can be stressful. Diet experts agree that
simple modifications help, such as substituting ground turkey for ground beef
-- or using whole or low-fat milk instead of cream.
loaf seems to bring back happy memories for many people: childhood dinners,
grandma's house, and simpler times. Try this healthy, easy version sliced and served with garlic mashed
potatoes. Use leftovers to make sandwiches.
common comfort food is chicken -- chicken soup, chicken and dumplings, fried
chicken -- chicken seems to be a universal soother. Add mashed potatoes, and
your blues may subside, at least for a night. Here's an easy, flavorful
your comfort food is mashed potatoes, be sure you try this creamy, delicious
doesn't look forward to sitting down to a personal pot pie, knowing it's just
for you, and savoring the buttery crust and rich flavor? For many of us, it
doesn't get more comforting than chicken pot pie.
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
grilled cheese is a classic, easy-to-make comfort food for kids. Try treating
yourself and the other "big kids" in your life to a fun meal
featuring their old favorite with the extra pizzazz of spaghetti sauce and
the top of many people's comfort food lists is the venerable macaroni and
cheese. This dish offers great opportunities for substitutions to reduce
calories. This recipe offers flavor and substance in a "lite"
Chips and dip are often a guilty pleasure in
front of a TV ballgame or movie, whether you're alone or in a group. It's
tempting to reach for chips instead of veggies, but you might be surprised how
flavorful healthy fresh-cut veggies can be -- baby carrots, celery,
cauliflower, broccoli, green onions, cucumbers, sliced red and green peppers,
green beans, pea pods. Help ensure the dips you serve with them are lower in
fat and calories by preparing them with low-fat mayonnaise, low-fat sour cream,
or plain yogurt.
a favorite dip that takes minimal effort and ingredients, but provides maximum
pie is so universally comforting that many realtors recommend home sellers burn
an apple pie scented candle in their home before an open house to entice
of a candle, warm your house and soul with the real thing. We've added cheese
to really pile on the comfort in this classic favorite. This version is tasty
enough to become a family tradition.
With a bit of experimentation, you can find
foods that both comfort and nourish nutritionally, leaving you a little happier
and a little healthier. And don't
forget the real comfort of knowing that in spite of all that's swirling around
you in today's world, you can find some contentment in the kitchen preparing
healthful foods for yourself and your family.