Now you don't have to sacrifice your health to enjoy delectable, heart (and belly) warming foods. With these Healthy Comfort Foods you can satisfy your taste buds and feel great too!
They're all gluten-free and mostly low carb.
Comfort Foods are those foods that make us feel good when we eat them. It's the way they taste, the way they feel in our mouths, and sometimes it's the memories they bring back from our childhood. They can be main dishes, sides, beverages, and yes, of course, desserts.
The problem, of course, is that so many comfort foods, while they might seem "comforting"--they wreak havoc on our blood sugar, and our guts...and inevitably on our health.
For me, some of my favorite comfort foods from my childhood are--cold cereal (from the box!), homemade cookies (especially chocolate chippers and peanut butter blossoms), spaghetti and meatballs, pizza, chicken nuggets, and ice cream. And ice cream.
And ice cream.
Did someone say ice cream?
I used to work in an ice cream parlor. BAD idea.
And then when my husband and I were dating, our favorite "frugal date" was to go to Mickey D's and get soft serve cones. Multiple ones. We even knew which workers gave out the tallest cones.....mmm hmmm.....yup, we were that frugal and intent on getting the biggest dessert for our buck.
Spaghetti and meatballs were a big fave for me too. My mom would have the spaghetti sauce simmering all day...and would let me try some spooned onto white bread (yikes!) for a treat when it was almost done.
I just loved baking. All. the. time.
I didn't like the cleaning up part, though...just the baking and eating. Much to mom's chagrin.
Peanut Butter Blossoms were my all time favorite cookie....and chocolate chippers...and...
I know that there are some healthy eating plans like Whole30, that recommend abstaining from healthier versions of comfort foods. And actually, that's the way we eat most of the time around here these days.
Lots of healthy meat, veggies, some fruit, and occasional grains, but very little to no processed foods and our meals have been very basic for months.
However, earlier when our food sensitivities started, and today even, when I get in the mood to have fun with my food, I like having fun in the kitchen and making interesting dishes for my family and others. I'm not sure what's changed--but my cravings have seriously diminished.
As in basically gone.
I see the benefit of both ways of eating. I think that eating basic foods can bring one closer to the reality of life--that food is made for living--we don't live for food. Plus we have more time to focus on other things if we aren't always thinking about our next meal and wondering what we'll make or obsessing about how wonderful it's going to be.
At the same time, I think it's great to be able to celebrate creativity in the kitchen and enjoy culinary pleasures. And to have fun enjoying good food even if it's a bit extravagant at times.
Plus, I think that when one is starting out trying to eat healthier, that having copycat versions of their favorite recipes can be a huge help and can even be the difference between staying on a new path and going back to eating junk food.
So with that in mind, I've created a roundup of healthy comfort foods, in the hopes that they will be a help to you, regardless of where you are on your healthy eating journey.
All are gluten free and are also dairy free and egg free or have easy substitutions. And if you are eating low-carb you should be able to substitute for most of them as well to meet your needs.
I hope that these healthy comfort foods are a help to you.
Healthy Comfort Foods
Instead of heading out to Mickey D's, you can make these delicious baked chicken nuggets in your own home. They freeze well and taste amazing. In fact, whenever I make them, my husband says, "How long do these take to make?" which is his nice way of saying I don't make them near as often as he'd like.
Delectable gluten-free fried chicken made in a cast iron skillet!
I love anything I can make in a slow cooker--and chili is something everyone loves.
This recipe calls for grass-fed beef. While not imperative, of course, it will taste even better using quality meat.
Substitute in a dairy-free cheese for a vegan option. This looks totally amazing--the perfect side for any meal.
If you LOVE lasagna, but you've gone grain-free, this is the perfect solution.
And there are dairy and egg-free options included.
Use almond flour for the dumplings to make them low carb.
Pot Roast with a fun twist of pepperoncini--how fun and delicious!
This is hands down our favorite recipe of all time. Kid-friendly too!
Everyone loves mac and cheese! And even more when it's healthier!
Use low-carb elbows for a low-carb dish.
What a fun twist on mac and cheese! Pumpkin and--sage?
Use low-carb elbows to make this dish low-carb.
Again, use low-carb pasta to make this dish low carb.
This is so easy and delicious--and comforting.
All kinds of veggies hidden in this meatloaf makes for a power-packed comfort food.
Use an egg substitute for an egg-free option.
This dish is one of our family's all time favorites--the great taste of egg rolls without the fuss and carbs of the wrappers.
A fantastic grain-free literal twist (of zoodles) on the traditional chicken noodle soup.
Use oil instead of the egg for an egg-free option.
Hot chocolate is so warm on chilly days.
This dairy-free hot chocolate is perfect on its own or topped with whipped coconut cream and chocolate shavings.
Use almond flour for the crust and a low carb sweetener to make this lower carb, but it won't be truly low carb unless you sub out the apples with berries.
I haven't tried this but using almond flour could make these low carb.
These will be tough to make egg free since they are made with coconut flour.
These are also a bit tough to do egg-free but since there are 2 flours it's worth a try.
What a delectable treat!
Use a low-carb sweetener if needed for your diet.
This is a dairy-free, low-carb remake of one of my childhood favorites.
From what I have read, cassava flour works pretty well with egg-free substitutes so these just might work egg-free if you need that. Use a low-carb sweetener if needed.
Me want cookies. Especially if they're made healthier!
Use an egg substitute if needed.
These No Bake Almond Joy® Bars are a treat we keep on hand almost all the time in our home--
they're full of nourishing fats and taste amazing.
Move over Krispy Kreme!
These Pumpkin Doughnuts are loaded with nourishing pumpkin goodness and look ahmazing.
This "faux" tato salad is sooo good it fools even enthusiastic potato salad lovers!
Want to reduce the carbs in these amazing cookies? Use a low-carb sweetener and low-carb chocolate.
How about the great flavor of Reese's in a bowl--healthy enough for breakfast.
Filling enough to carry you 'til lunch.
If you love granola, but have gone grain-free, this is for you!
Use a low-carb sweetener if needed.
Not your traditional nacho sauce. Here is a great sauce healthified and it's even GAPS legal!
No need to load yourself up with sugar or use drink mixes filled with artificial sweeteners.
This sugar-free lemonade is thirst-quenching and delicious all year round.
Try this healthful goodness of real food ingredients that is dairy-free, refined sugar-free, vegan, and paleo too.
A whole lotta nutritious stuff in this latte.
Use a low-carb sweetener if needed for your particular dietary needs.
Popcorn can't be low-carb, but this seasoning is GREAT on veggies, kale chips, and more.
This recipe is dairy-free, paleo friendly, and loaded with delicious garlic flavor and a vegan twist of "cheesy nutty" nutritional yeast.
These can't be low-carb, but the dip would be great with any kind of low-carb dipper, in moderation (since cashews are higher in carbs).
Every time I bake this cake I make 4 batches because I know it will be gone in a flash. It's that good!
What's more comforting than potatoes with cheese? Knowing that your potatoes with cheese are healthified--that's what.
Almond Flour might work as a low carb sub for these (but you will have to cut the fat in half), but skip the bananas of course.
A childhood favorite made healthier--and made purple!
Try these with cauliflower or daikon for a low carb option.
A traditional comfort food filled with added veggies and redone in a lower carb version.
Which of these healthy comfort foods is your favorite?
What is YOUR favorite comfort food?