Turning to your favorite "comfort food" as the weather gets colder might mean consuming a lot of salts, sugars and saturated fats -- or it could mean being satisfied with a delicious and nutritious meal.
Choosing the right type of comfort food can give your diet the richness and satiety you crave, as long as you pick foods that are high in protein and nutrients. Find out what 8 comfort foods are solid choices for well-balanced meals or snacks below.
The health benefits of dark chocolate have been praised as of late – and research has shown that hot cocoa can possibly fight dementia in elderly people. Raw cocoa is full of antioxidants that reduce levels of cortisone, so be sure to experiment with recipes using raw cocoa as opposed to boxed hot chocolate, which may be more likely to contain sugars.
Filled with fiber and protein, warm oatmeal is the type of comfort food that “sticks to your ribs.” Steaming hot steel-cut oatmeal topped with nuts or fruit can be an excellent way to start the day and to keep you full of energy without making you feel too stuffed.
“People who eat a broth- or vegetable-based soup before their meal consume fewer calories overall,” nutritionist Rania Batayneh told Health magazine. Along with filling you up before you chow down on the main course, chicken noodle soup is packed with protein, fiber, and vitamins. And it’s the ideal comfort food for sickness and
Digesting protein in general requires burning calories, as the body has to work harder to break down protein to be used for energy. Protein keeps you fuller for longer than carbs or sugars. Trying roasted meat with steamed vegetables can be a surprisingly filling and nutritious meal. Which brings us to…
This goes without saying, but vegetables provide our bodies with essential nutrients. Depending on how they’re prepared, veggies can be a comfort food, too – collared greens and roasted carrots can be a delicious side dish to main meals.
Though potatoes are often considered empty carbs, it depends on how you use them. French fries, which are doused in grease, are different from roasted potatoes topped with some salt and rosemary. Potatoes are complex carbohydrates, meaning they’ll keep you full for longer than sugary foods. Dr. Jacquie Lavin, a weight-loss doctor for Slimming World, told the Daily Mail: “You should eat complex carbohydrates such as potatoes, rather than simple carbohydrates like sugar or biscuits which give a short energy boost followed by hunger pangs,' she says. 'In this way, potatoes can help you reduce binge-eating.”
A baked potato will provide up to 12 percent of the daily recommendation of fiber. Mashed sweet potatoes are another tasty dish, containing plenty of vitamin A and vitamin C, and contain the antioxidant beta-carotene.
This hearty soup is another example of a protein and nutrient-packed food that truly fills you up and keeps you satiated for longer periods of time. Fiber from the tomatoes, and the high amounts of protein in beef and beans create a perfect combination.
If you’re one of the fans of pumpkin-flavored everything, you’ll be happy to hear that pumpkins are good for you – even pumpkin pie. A cup of pumpkin pie filling only has about 50 calories and 3 grams of fiber. Pumpkin also fights oxidative stress and inflammation with beta-carotene, an antioxidant.