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Home-Cooked Meals? That’s Comforting

Home-Cooked Meals? That’s Comforting

Ceratin foods just make you feel good, especially when it’s cold outside. Cooking at home can help you take more comfort in your comfort foods.

On a frigid winter night, a warm bowl of soup or a dinner of meatloaf and mashed potatoes can warm both body and soul. But the added sodium, fillers and preservatives in canned or frozen versions may leave your health out in the cold.

“You don’t have to choose between taste and heart health when it comes to the cold-weather foods you love,” said Kelsey Shackelford, MBA, RDN, LD, registered dietitian at Archbold Memorial Hospital. “It’s easy to find healthy substitutions to your favorite comfort foods by experimenting with different ingredients.”

This dish-by-dish guide can help:

  • Lasagna – Use ribbons of zucchini and squash instead of noodles, and use ground turkey or chicken sausage instead of pork or beef.
  • Meatloaf – Replace bread crumbs with heart-smart oats and try ground turkey instead of beef.
  • Soup – Leave canned soup on the shelves and opt for a slow cooker broth-based soup with peas, carrots, okra, beans and other vegetables.

Side dishes

  • Green bean casserole – Toss root vegetables or Brussels sprouts in olive oil and spices and roast until tender.
  • Macaroni and cheese – Use pureed butternut squash in place of some or all of the milk or cream.

If you think you could benefit from a visit with a dietitian, talk to your primary care provider about your options. Need a provider? Visit