What is a comfort food?

When we think of comfort food, we generally think of unhealthy foods- those that are loaded with unhealthy fats and excess carbohydrates. They may be family favorites, or they may be soothing to the soul when times get tough. Today, I’m going to challenge you to look at comfort foods in a new way, to think about what foods make you physically comfortable. Chances are, these are a very different set of foods.

When you need warmth
When you’re craving something warm, reach for a healthy soup full of vegetables and/or lean meat. You can use a homemade broth for added nutrition, and thankfully soup will last for days. It can also be frozen and pulled out for later.

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Roasted vegetables are warming and often easier to digest than cold raw vegetables. Take 20-30 minutes to roast some of your favorite sliced veggies and enjoy them with a healthy protein and fat.

When you need sweet
If you try to cut out all of your carbohydrates, you will begin to crave carbohydrates. It may not happen immediately, but it will happen. Instead, swap your sugary cereals, breads, sodas and cookies for more soothing and healthy choices like roasted root vegetables. Sweet potatoes, turnips, carrots and beets are delicious when covered in coconut oil and baked. You can also make fries out of these sweet vegetables, mash them or make a wide variety of soups.

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Don’t forget about fruit. Enjoy an apple or berries in place of sugar-filled candy and flavored bars made with ingredients you don’t quite understand. Try a green juice or smoothie made with ingredients like spinach, almond milk and frozen fruits.

When you want crunchy
Chips are the ultimate crunchy food, but they’re often full of salt and covered in unhealthy oils. Try reaching for roasted nuts instead. You can roast almonds and pecans yourself, and the flavor is simply amazing. Try adding spices for additional flavor.

Make a better choice. If you must have something crunchy in a package, look for chips or crackers with less ingredients. Pay particular attention to the amount of sodium. A few better choices include: Jackson’s Honest Chips, kale chips (variety of brands) and Way Better Snacks chips.

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What foods do you reach for to provide comfort? Have you thought about why you reach for certain foods?

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Fall Comfort Foods: Recipes that feel like home

Fall is here and winter is quickly following behind. Before you know it, you’ll be celebrating the holidays with friends and loved ones. It’s no secret that this time of year is when weight slowly creeps on. You may be too busy to exercise, or you may just find yourself party hopping and celebrating with way more calories than you need. Have no fear. These recipes will help you feel at home while keeping you healthy.
Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

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1 large head of cauliflower, chopped
6 Tbsp of butter (use ghee for dairy free)
3 Tbsp almond milk
3 tsp minced garlic
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Directions
Steam chopped cauliflower until tender
Add cauliflower, butter, almond milk and garlic to food processor or strong blender like Vitamix
Blend, stopping every 30 seconds or so to scrap sides as needed
Once you have a mashed potato consistency, stop
Add in sea salt and pepper
Mix and serve warm
*This is a great side dish for the holidays
Serves 5-6Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs

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1 medium spaghetti squash
1 lb lean ground turkey (could also use bison)
1 can of low sugar tomato sauce
5 whole cloves of garlic
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Italian seasoning to taste, 2 tsp recommended
Directions
Pour tomato sauce, Italian seasoning and garlic into 6 quart crockpot
Slice squash in half around the middle, not from end to end
Scoop out seeds
Place the two halves cut side down in slow cooker
Roll turkey or bison into bite-sized meatballs and place around squash
Cook on low for 5 hours
Remove squash and fork out “spaghetti”
Top with sauce and meatballs
Enjoy!
*This is a family favorite that even the kids will enjoy. Add a side salad or mix in some spinach for extra vegetables and nutrients.

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Tasty Fall Foods that are Full of Nutrients

Summer has passed, things have cooled off and we have a whole assortment of delicious fall foods to choose from- foods that are now in season, despite the fact that they are available year round in most places. There’s nothing better than seasonal produce!

Winter Squash
Winter squash are full of beta carotene and omega-3’s, both anti-inflammatory nutrients. They help strengthen your immune system just in time for flu season. Best of all, there are numerous ways to serve these delicious winter veggies. Whether it’s in soup, cubed and roasted, or stuffed, you really can’t go wrong. Look for butternut squash, kabocha squash, acorn squash and more.

Pumpkin
In case you don’t get enough beta carotene from winter squash, pumpkin will always be there for you. It’s orange color is a dead giveaway. However, it’s also full of vitamin A and fiber. Pumpkin soup is both warm and soothing on a cool fall day. Pumpkin puree can be used in baking, smoothies or mixed in quinoa flakes or other grains for a filling breakfast. Just be sure to look for real pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling, which is loaded with sugar.

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Apples

Berries and citrus are the ultimate summer fruits, but nothing says fall like apples. Apples are full of fiber and flavor. You can enjoy everything from tart and sour, to sweet. The phytonutrients in apples are said to help regulate blood sugar and help provide bacterial balance in the digestive tract. For the most nutrition, skip the applesauce and apple cider, and enjoy whole apples as a snack with some almond butter, or even baked with cinnamon.

Cranberries
Cranberries probably remind you of Thanksgiving. This year, skip the canned cranberry sauce and enjoy real cranberries. Their proanthocyanidins help prevent urinary tract infections, and the amazing combination of nutrients in cranberries help protect your liver and cardiovascular system. Try your cranberries with quinoa or add them to a salad.

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How are you getting your nutrients in this fall? Do you have a favorite fall fruit or veggie?

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