There is absolutely nothing like a warm bowl of soup on a cold day or a plate of steaming mashed potatoes and a gravy river after a trying work day. But sometimes, the same nostalgic dishes that comfort in the moment can cause anguish later when we realize we’ve had one too many red velvet cakes slices this month. Notorious for being filled with the Taste Trifecta – salt, sugar, and fat – comfort foods can make sticking to our healthy meal plan hard.

But not anymore.

I’ve come up with 5 totally tasty, totally comforting, and nowhere near as harmless to our waistline foods that still bring that comforting feeling. We have goals, especially at the start of a new year, and it’s important we stick to them. But who says we can’t have good food while doing it!

Leave a comment below with any of your favorite guilt-free comfort foods or what  you think of the one’s I’ve listed. I’m always looking for new recipes.

1. Chicken Chili

Instead of the usual ground beef, which can tend to be really greasy, try making this yummy chili featuring a much leaner chicken as the protein. It’s still chunky, tasty and lower in fat and calories. You can make it tomato based or broth based – either way is delicious. Comment below if I should write a post about my chicken chili recipe!

Check out my post on another cool way to eat chili and stay full during the day.

2. Sweet Potatoes

Candied yams are one of the tastiest side dishes in the world – enveloping you in butter, sugar and nutmeg. But that much processed sugar can be harmful when trying to lose weight and prevent disease. Baking sweet potatoes in the oven and sprinkling with a little nutmeg before eating can give an almost identical taste with a more filling, fibrous texture and virtually no fat. Pro tip: Vanilla extract doesn’t contain any sugar so try adding a few drops onto your split sweet potato for even more of the “candied yam” taste without sugar.

3. “Smashed” Potatoes

Creamy, buttery, heaven. OMG are they perfect or what?! Definitely comforting, but definitely fattening. And don’t get me started on the boxed kind! Your body craves real food, so that’s what you’re going to give it. Instead of blending your potatoes with heavy cream, butter and a ton of salt – smash the potatoes once cooked, scoop on your plate, and try using greek yogurt as a sour cream. It will give you the dairy taste you’re looking for, provide a little protein, and you can get the 0% or 2% fat version. Plus, adding it after cooking allows you to really control how much you are eating with each serving instead of all the ingredients being mixed at the beginning.

4. Pumpkin or Sweet Potato Pie

A staple around the holidays, these orange pies are delectable. One way to make them a little healthier but just as comforting is to make the crust yourself. It may seem like an extra step when you can buy the crust at the store, but it’s a step that’s worth it if you’re serious about your weight loss. Store-bought crusts contain fat and additives you don’t need in your body. Instead, make your own featuring graham crackers and flaxseed – greatly reducing the bad fat and introducing healthy omega-3 fats with the flax seeds. You won’t even know they’re there!

5. Creamy, Dreamy Tomato Soup

In 15 short minutes, you can have a piping-hot bowl of classic tomato soup – without the classic calories! And the great thing about soups is you can make them ahead of time and store for later. I like to use glass mason jars to make separate portions. Here’s the recipe (serves 2): Put one 14.5oz can of low-sodium chicken broth and 14oz of crushed tomatoes together in a saucepan over medium heat. When it bubbles, add 1/2 cup 2% milk (no heavy cream here!) and simmer for about 15 minutes. Season to taste – hot sauce gives it a nice little kick. Pro tip: If you want to bulk it up a little more, try stirring in 1/2 cup mashed cannellini/white beans to the mixture once it’s done and blend.

Hope you’ve enjoyed learning healthier ways to enjoy some of your favorite comfort foods. Don’t forget to comment below and let me know some of your favorite ways to “healthy-ify” (yeah, I made that word up)  feel-good foods!