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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