Delicious Fall Comfort Foods You Can Feel Good About

Fall is here, causing more of us to crave warm and toasty comfort foods. Unfortunately, many of these dishes can be higher in calories and fat. The good news: I’m here to offer you some tasty, healthy and slimming alternatives.

As a registered dietitian nutritionist, I work with bariatric patients at Indiana University Health, to help them lose weight in preparation for surgery. In addition to being followed by a team, patients also receive individualized nutrition counseling post-operatively. We work together to identify barriers and solutions throughout their weight loss journey.

For me, it’s a personal win to see my patients discover that eating healthy can be enjoyable and delicious. I love being able to help people integrate nutrition, fitness, and wellness to create long lasting lifestyle changes.

Wondering where to start? Try these healthy alternatives to cut fat, sugar, and calories – without sacrificing any flavor. You’ll also sneak in some added health benefits.

  • Turkey Chili – Swapping out ground beef for ground turkey can make this hearty recipe a little leaner. Consider joining the ‘Meatless Monday’ movement by making it vegetarian. You can use tofu crumbles, sweet potatoes, or even extra beans and veggies.
  • Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese – Swap half the cheese with savory and fiber-rich butternut squash for some added nutrients and taste! Added bonus: swap out half the noodles for cauliflower.
  • Chicken Soup – Swap out regular noodles for whole grain, or omit them completely. Make your own homemade soup using a whole chicken, fresh veggies, herbs, and broth to create this delicious and nutritious family favorite.
  • Chicken Pot Pie – Simple swaps, like using almond milk for heavy cream and only one vs two pie crusts, can really lighten up a dish, cutting a significant amount of fat and calories. You will be impressed at how doing so will also cause you to taste more natural flavors from the vegetables.
  • Baked Apples – Instead of apple pie or crisp, try this recipe. In the oven or microwave, this delicious fruit can satisfy any sweet craving. With a little sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg, you won’t need added sugar.

— By Katie Hake, RD
   IU Health