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Healthy Bites

Comfort Food Shapes Up

As winter's chill sets in, so does the craving for warm, hearty meals. But as satisfying as they are, classic comfort foods like spaghetti and meatballs and chicken pot pie generally pack way too much fat. Fortunately, you can easily slim down some perennial favorites -- without losing the flavor:

  • Meat Loaf Swap ground beef for ground turkey breast and slash meat loaf's hefty 23 grams of fat per serving down to a still satisfying 14.
  • Spaghetti and Meatballs You can also substitute ground turkey in this favorite, and pare each serving from 21 grams of fat to 13.
  • Chicken Pot Pie Skip the bottom crust and use only the top, and the fat in pot pie drops from 31 to 21 grams per serving. Make this dish even leaner by using broth thickened with pureed potatoes -- rather than a cream base -- for the filling, suggests Riska Platt, a spokesperson for the American Heart Association.
  • Pancakes Each flapjack loses 3 grams of fat (from 6 down to 3) when you use egg whites instead of whole eggs (2 whites=1 whole egg) and buttermilk or skim milk instead of whole.

Keep in mind that not all cold-weather dishes serve up high amounts of fat, so don't overlook pot roast and beef stew -- which can be made with leaner cuts of meat -- and mushroom barley and lentil soups -- which are made with the tiniest bit of fat (usually just a little oil to saute the onions).