With the frigid temps outside and oversized sweaters and comfy leggings on, all I want to do is cozy up and nosh on some comfort food. When hunger strikes, I don’t always want to whip up a light summer treat when it is 20 degrees out! Sure that might be healthier, but not so much during the winter. I know heavy meals aren’t the best to get into my skinny jeans or keeping my cholesterol and blood pressure healthy. Plus we’ve all heard that summer bodies are made in the winter, right?
No matter what time of year I always start the day by eating breakfast! I like starting my day off with a protein, like eggs. I love making veggie egg cups like these, on Sunday and eating them throughout the week. And I always keep hard boiled eggs on hand so I don’t have to think twice about what I’m going to eat! Sometimes I mix it up and make overnight oats as well.
I’m big into eating every couple hours to keep my metabolism up as well. I make simple snacks like plain Greek yogurt drizzled with local honey and fruit or cottage cheese and veggies. I aim to have a main protein at each meal as well. Dinner is where it gets fun for me! I love finding family favorites that aren’t so healthy and figuring out how to make them waistline friendly! Plus, something that my family will actually eat!
First things first, I look for easy swaps. When a recipe calls for heavy cream, whole milk and full fat cheese, there are a couple things I do. I may choose to use a reduced fat/skim option or almond milk. Or I will use a smaller amount than the recipe calls for. Or I use it and enjoy it watching my portion size. Since I follow the 80/20 rule, I have no problem using some full fat options on occasion. When using a substitution, be sure to check those ingredients. Sometimes there can be yucky ingredients in there. If I don’t recognize it, I don’t use it.
I have a love affair with zucchini and spaghetti squash. Even my 3 year old gobbles up zoodles (zucchini noodles) with turkey meatballs and marinara. I love my carbs and swapping pasta out for a veggie is a WIN. Plus my digestive system and waistline thank me! I often throw zucchini into lasagna as well. If you are looking for ideas check out Pinterest, and you’ll find boatloads of delicious spaghetti squash recipes. I’ve made some delicious spaghetti squash mac and cheese, variations of spaghetti and enchilada boats. All from this amazing vegetable!
While we are on the topic of squash, let’s talk about butternut squash. I mean can there be a more perfect vegetable? Mild in flavor, delicious roasted and can easily be made savory or sweet. I make a mean Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese if I do say so myself. And a favorite soup that I craved through my second pregnancy and beyond, is this Tomato and Butternut Squash soup.
Maybe you haven’t jumped on the spaghetti squash/zoodle trend just yet. There are so many healthier substitutions out there for a pasta dish. Stick with whole grain, brown rice pasta, or quinoa pasta. Many years ago I started subbing our white spaghetti with whole grain and my husband said, “Normally I’m starving after spaghetti, I wonder why I’m not now?” Later, I spilled the beans that I used whole-wheat pasta instead!
Another favorite of mine is whipping up a hearty meatloaf with mashed “potatoes.” But guess what? They really aren’t potatoes. I use cauliflower instead! It still gives you the taste of yummy comfort food but with a fraction of the calories.
And now I’m hungry, so off to the kitchen to get cooking!