The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives in more ways than one. It’s been a tragic global crisis, claiming a lot of lives and hurting a lot of people, forcing entire populations into lockdown, halting economies, and so much more.
It’s also taken a toll on mental health. Cooped up indoors all the time, many people are eager for any kind of comfort they can get, and this is why we’ve seen a rise in the number of comfort foods people tend to be making and eating.
When you’re feeling lonely, bored, or stressed in relation to the pandemic, there’s something so comforting about cooking up a rich lasagna, flavorsome chili, or cheesy pizza to give you a big boost of endorphins and lighten your mood.
Unfortunately, these kinds of meals also come with big numbers of calories, and many people are worried that they might end up emerging from lockdown with more than a few extra pounds around the waist.
However, it is perfectly possible to eat a healthy diet during the lockdown and still enjoy the foods you love on a regular basis. Here are some useful tips to make your comforting classics a little less fattening and a little more nourishing.
If your family loves chili, there are plenty of ways you can still get those same great flavors in a healthier way. For instance, instead of using ground beef or pork as your main chili meat, switch it out to ground turkey instead. The fat content for your chili will dramatically drop if you do this, and you usually won’t even notice the difference.
You could also swap some or all of the meat for a veggie-friendly alternative like bulgur or beans as a great source of fiber, and you should try and add more beans and other veggies in general, such as sweet potatoes or squash, to bring in some additional fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins.
Pizza is one of the best and most popular comfort foods of them all, but it isn’t exactly known for its healthy, nutritional content, especially with all that gluten-filled dough and fatty cheese on top. Still, there are ways you can adjust the recipe here and there to change things greatly. For instance, you can begin with the dough and make use of a whole-grain base for your pizza instead of a regular one.
On top, you can make use of lighter cheeses with lower fat content, and make sure to add plenty of veggies to bring some vitamins to the meal. Lean meats are a great option for protein too, and it’s always best to make your own sauce, as pre-made sauces are typically filled with salt and preservatives.
There’s nothing quite like a burger when you want to brighten up the day, but what can you do to make your burger recipes better for you? Well, one trick is to consider alternative meats. Beef can be quite fatty, so opting for turkey, chicken, or even fish burgers can vastly reduce the calorie count. You can even try out one of the many new vegan, meat-free alternatives.
It’s also recommended to keep things simple with the toppings, avoiding really fatty add-ons like rich cheeses and fried bacon. Instead, get some salad into your burger and try to make use of homemade salsas and other light condiments to add flavor without adding fat.
If you want to transform your lasagna into a healthier and leaner dish, there are quite a few options available to you. Just like in chili, you can consider switching out the meat for something leaner, like turkey or chicken.
You can also opt for lighter cheeses, replacing ricotta with cottage cheese, for instance, and using light mozzarella instead of full-fat cheese. Try to make your own sauce, too, as store-bought sauces are often filled with excess ingredients that won’t do your body any favors.
Author Bio: Rosa Hemming is an experienced blogger, content creator, and college paper writing services expert from the US. She writes on various blogs, and as part of a professional essay writing service team too. Rosa is passionate about a range of subjects and enjoys movies, TV shows, and more. Find her on Twitter.