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Cutting Calories in Comfort Foods

Article by Diet Bites

Like Comfort Food But Not the Calories?

Chocolate cake, French fries, hot bread fresh out of the oven - Mommy help! All these comfort foods may cause the once-civil dieter to stampede. But not anymore. Dieters, it's time to rejoice over these tasty comfort food makeovers.

Comfort Food #1 - Chocolate Cake Makeover

A comfort-food favorite, this big boy weighs in at the top of the list for Comfort Foods. Unfortunately, it also registers 'TILT' when it comes to calories, because foods that are big on flavor tend to be big on calories. Here's our simple solution:

- A nice hunk of chocolate cake can be enjoyed for about 200 calories until......we pile on the frosting. Although you'll miss a bit of sweetness, try sprinkling the baked cake with powdered sugar rather than getting happy with the frosting spoon. You'll more than cut the calories in half.

Can't do without frosting? Try playing with a few of these tasty suggestions:

Frost chocolate cake with LIGHT whipped topping.

Top cake with assorted fresh fruits. Both strawberries and peaches go well with chocolate cake.

Use a mix of 1/2 powder sugar and 1/2 Splenda to slash kcals.

Substitute recommended butter with 1/2 light margarine.

Use skim milk to breakdown the sugars rather than cream or regular milk and you'll save a few more kcals.

The New Diet Cake of Comfort Food

A tasty substitute for chocolate cake is light angel food cake. Many high-end bakeries offer the chocolate version as well as many others such as strawberry.

Comfort Food #2 - French Fries

Nothing like a fresh batch of hot fries dipped in ketchup with a shaker of salt waiting in the wings, just in case. When the mood for comfort food strikes and you want a salty fix, try 'frying' up these jewels instead. You won't miss the fat and calories OR that salty craze you're searching for. Kcal values are slashed by more than half:

Wash a small spud then blot dry. Next, slice into fries OR slice into thin slices.

Spray a non-stick pan with cooking spray (butter flavored adds a nice punch) and add fries. Stir frequently, adding more cooking spray if needed. Take care not to spray additional cooking spray near burner or you'll risk setting more than your diet on fire.

The New Diet Fry of Comfort Food: A tasty substitute for French fries is pan-fried flour tortillas cooked with non-stick cooking spray. Simply cut into strips after cooking. For a sweet twist, sprinkle on a bit of brown sugar and cinnamon.

Aim for tortillas that are lowest in calories. Most markets carry versions supporting 80 - 100 calories per tortilla. Wheat tortillas will add a bit of healthy goodness.

Comfort Food #3 - Pasta

Mama Mia - I wanna big bowl of pasta-ria! Other than cutting back on butter, sauces and creams that we generally like to drown our pasta in, little can be done to trim pasta calories.

With that in mind, we'd like to steer you towards a wonderful food that tastes like zillions of tiny noodles spun together. Couscous contains about 200 calories per prepared cup, comparable to most pasta calories. However, the amazing thing about couscous is that it is so filling and because it's so teensy, it takes a lot longer to consume.

The New Diet Pasta of Comfort Food: Couscous sprinkled with a bit of cracked pepper, salt and no calorie butter spray.

In  Summary

Whether it's chocolate bars, chocolate cake, cheeseburgers, fries, soda or mac n cheese, comfort foods not only make the world go round, sometimes they make us round, too. HOWEVER, what's life without a bit of comfort foods now and then?  

If you find that only the richest version of your favorite comfort food will do, be sure to count the energy values in your daily totals. Unless you exceed your body's caloric requirements for the day, you can't gain weight.

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