How to cut calories when comfort food cravings hit in
Comfort food cravings can hit anytime of the year but, the fall and winter months are more likely to have the cravings kick in big time. Maybe it’s the colder temps, lack of sunshine, a battle with the sniffles or the holidays that has us clamoring to get a taste of our cozy, comfort foods. Whatever the draw, there isn’t anything wrong with an occasional indulgence.
Yet the key word is occasional, too much of something can wreak havoc on the waistline. We overindulge over and over and then wonder what happened when our jeans are too tight. Calorie overload of one too many servings is what happened! I’m a big believer of balance, so no; you don’t have to deprive yourself. Just follow a few tips to keep your calories in check and have your cake and eat it too!
Cut Calorie Tips for Comfort Foods
Tip 1 – What’s eating you?
We often use food to comfort our moods whether as a reward or band-aid and this often starts in childhood. Maybe it’s an ice cream sundae that you got when you aced a test as a kid or grandma’s mac and cheese that were was your go to meal when you were down. As we get older we often keep up these habits yet the portions are bigger and can cause more harm than good.
Consuming these foods no longer provides comfort but feelings such as shame and guilt take over. Before you know it these comfort foods become your go-to meals and the pounds pack on. Don’t be afraid to question yourself for your intention and self-control. Is there a mood associated to your craving? Can you have a single serving? How are you going to feel after you consume this food? Begin to be mindful before you commit to a comfort food craving.
Tip 2 – Recreate it!
So you’ve thought about this comfort food and you just have to have it? Well, why not recreate it? There are millions of recipes out there for just about any and everything, research for lower calories versions of your comfort food favorites. Pick up a cookbook or head online to find recipes of your favorite comfort foods that are lower in calories, so they are big on taste and low on guilt.
Or just get in the kitchen and experiment! Be creative in the kitchen and try swapping ingredients making a new twist on an old standby! Try adding extra veggies and low fat dairy to recreate a healthier mac & cheese. Use bananas or unsweetened applesauce in place of oils in baking sweet treats.
Tip 3 – Your calorie budget
Every day you have a calorie budget that needs to be spread out during the day. Decide early in the day how you want to spend it. If you know that the lasagna at a family dinner is just too good to pass up then have a plan. Make sure you eat lighter during the day and pair a portion of the lasagna with lots of veggies and skip the bread. This way you can indulge your comfort craving and not break the calorie bank.
Tip 4 – Portion control
Whether you choose to go with the original or lower calorie versions of your go to comfort foods, make sure you keep portions in check. Yes, mom’s old fashioned oatmeal cookies are delicious but one or two are just as tasty as ten! Don’t go overboard! Remember as I mentioned in the first tip, question your intention and control.
This holds true for lower calorie/healthier versions too! Lower calorie goodies are not an excuse to eat as much as you want.
Don’t let the idea of comfort foods stress you out. Create a balanced eating style that allows the occasional indulgence then those comfort food calories won’t take over your waistline this fall and winter season.