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‘De-Fat’ your favorite comfort foods

Yum. Does mac-n-cheese or meatloaf make you want to drive to the nearest diner for a serious helping of comfort food? Virtua registered dietitian Lauren Guenther gives tips for creating your fav comfort foods at home – making them healthier and just as delicious.

Mac-n-cheese
Instead of adding milk, butter and flour to the recipe, puree cooked butternut squash until it’s creamy, and add it to your pasta. Replace half of the cheddar cheese with low-fat cheddar cheese. Swap white pasta for whole wheat pasta.

Meatloaf
Instead of beef, use a mix of veal, pork and 93% lean ground beef. Or, use ground turkey or chicken.

Spaghetti
Mix in equal parts spaghetti squash and regular spaghetti. Try whole wheat pasta. Use a tomato-based sauce and with less than five grams of sugar per serving and zero trans fats. Add vegetables whenever possible.

Chili
Add more beans than meat. Swap ground beef for turkey or chicken. Use beef? Make sure it’s 93% lean. Add plenty of veggies and serve it with wheat crackers.

Fried chicken
If you can’t live without the fried chicken crunch, take a wheat-based dry cereal and crunch it up. Dip the chicken in milk, cover with the cereal and bake. It cooks up crunchy without the calories.

Smart ingredient swap

Instead of:

  • Butter: Use half the amount called for in the recipe — for the same results. In some recipes, try Greek yogurt instead of butter.
  • Sour Cream: Enjoy the recipe with plain Greek yogurt or non-fat sour cream.
  • Flour: Use whole-wheat flour or ground oats instead of enriched white flour.
  • Cheese: Substitute light cheese, less cheese, or leave it out if it’s not a main ingredient.
  • Whole milk: Try skim milk.
  • Eggs: Replace one egg with two egg whites.