How to Make Healthier Comfort Food: A Guide

Comfort food is food that provides a person with emotional comfort as it’s a favorite food of childhood, associated with a person, place, or time to which the food has a positive association.

Typically, comfort foods are characterized by high levels of carbs, high-calorie count, and simple preparations.

Comfort foods are craved for a number of reasons, most important of which are the following:

They provide us with a feeling of emotional well-being, security, and bring back the positive sentiments of the good times we associate with them.

Chocolate is one of the most popular choices among comfort food and it increases pleasure and reduces tension.

These kinds of food activate the brain’s reward system with their high levels of fat, sugar, and salt.

That’s why we seek them during times of hardship and discomfort.

Just the smell of comfort foods may induce feelings of joy and tranquility because we associate them with happy times like birthday parties, social gatherings with friends and family.

Although a lot of them contain high counts of calories,  amounts of sugar, fat, and salt, you can still find a lot of recipes that are low in carbs and provide you with a healthy nutritional value.

Baked foods are your best bet when it comes to comfort foods

Baking itself has a lot of health benefits over other cooking methods.

  • Poutine from Canada

These are fries soaked in brown gravy and melted cheese curds. Sometimes the dish is topped with vegetables and meat as well.

  • Tortilla from Spain

Combining sauteed potato and onion baked into eggs, this classic dish is a good snack for any time of the day.

  • Oden from Japan

This Japanese dish consists of boiled eggs, radish, konjac, fish cakes, and broth.

  • Pao De Queijo from Brazil

Simply known as Brazilian cheese bread. These are small, baked rolls that are served as snacks and sometimes food for breakfast.

  • Cha Siu Bao from China

These are pork buns that are commonly served in Cantonese dim sum. The dough is dense but still soft with slow-roast pork and marinated in a mixture of oyster sauce, sesame oil, soy sauce, and hoisin sauce.

  • Chilaquiles from Mexico

These are lightly fried corn tortillas that are spicy, crunchy, and creamy all at once. They are quarter, cooked with salsa or mole and then topped with pulled chicken, Mexican crema, queso fresco, eggs, and fried beans.

  • Man’oushe from Lebanon

This is a dish that consists of flatbread with olive oil and thyme. Mixing tomatoes, mint, and a lot of traditional Lebanese spices and flavors. The dough has a mushy center with a crispy exterior an is often served with lamb, olives, and chickpeas.

  • Pierogis from Poland

These are a Polish version of the dumpling. The dough contains onions, mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, ground meat, old cheese, and sometimes even fruit. The dough is then oiled and pan-fried.

There are a number of reasons why we crave these comfort foods.

  1. The first one is that they make us feel good

Foods that are high in fat, salt, or sugar activate the brain’s reward system. A prime example is, of course, chocolate which has a very strong impact on mood and generally increases pleasant feelings and reduces tension.

This tasty food activates the same parts of the brain that are associated with reward and pleasure and which are active in drug addiction. So yes, comfort food is that addictive and pleasurable.

  1. Comfort food also works like self-medication

The consistent connection between unhealthy food and negative emotions explains why we’re always compelled to eat these foods during hardships and emotional distress.

  1. The feeling of belonging

Comfort foods are usually associated with members of our family, social gatherings, and holidays.

This is why feelings of loneliness may evoke the desire to eat comfort food.

  1. Eating your nostalgia

Studies also show a strong link between scents and emotional memory. That’s why the smell of comfort food recipes may induce feelings of happiness and serenity.

This is especially true if it’s a type of food you ate during your childhood or generally positive times in your life as they produce feelings of social connectedness.

  1. Reminders of special occasions

Birthday parties, Thanksgiving gatherings, and Christmas dinners are often the times that we tend to go for special and often unhealthy foods.

This is just another reason comfort food is linked to feelings of joy and being surrounded by loved ones.

All of these things lead us to the conclusion that turning to comfort foods really helps improve one’s mood.

Research shows that consuming foods that are associated with happy thoughts and nice sentiments improves well-being and reduces feelings of loneliness.

The site is a pretty neat way to easily access a number of comfort food and special dishes that are very tasty and provide you with the emotional support you need.

Some of them are really indulgent in the number of calories, amount of sugar, fat, and salt that they contain.

But you can still find a lot of recipes that are low in carbs and high in proteins that can provide you with the comfort you need and the healthy nutritional value.

There are even some special diet recipes like the low carb Ketogenic butter coffee that contains no carbs and a number of healthy oils that benefit both your body and mood.

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