Satisfy your comfort food cravings
February 11, 2019 | 5:39 PM
by Courtesy of Brandpoint

After a long day, digging into a hearty pasta dish or a piping hot bowl of soup can fill you with warmth and coziness - especially on cold days. The good news is that comfort foods don't have to be unhealthy or take a lot of time to make. We can still enjoy the rich, flavourful options that feed your cravings with easy-to-make dishes that incorporate wholesome, nutritious ingredients (some taken directly from your grocery store's chilled foods section). Here are some helpful tips to enjoy comforting meals without the guilt:

* Combine frozen and prepared foods with fresh produce. Frozen meals and pizzas, as well as chilled pasta, are the perfect bases for balanced meals and come in many varieties. Shop the refrigerator and freezer sections for your favourite dishes that you can simply pair with fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy to create a balanced plate. It can be much easier and less time-consuming than cooking a full meal from scratch, and leave you more time to do other activities beyond cooking.

* Try recipes featuring a balance of protein, dairy and vegetables. Cozy up on the couch with a rich and tasty mug of minestrone soup loaded with seasonal vegetables. Adding refrigerated pasta helps make it a complete meal, cutting time spent on preparation, but not on taste. The blend of ricotta, Parmesan and Romano cheeses perfectly complements veggies like sweet potatoes, kale and carrots in a steaming, herby broth.

* Strategically mix in vegetables. There are several ways to sneak veggies into your favourite comfort foods. Sprinkle greens into scrambled eggs and quiches, incorporate shredded zucchini and carrots into baked goods, add spinach or broccoli to spaghetti sauce, or make pumpkin waffles. The possibilities are endless.

* Use fruit to indulge your sweet tooth. For many people, comfort foods are all about desserts. Those striving to eat healthier can still enjoy their sweets in moderation, but may wish to incorporate ingredients like fresh fruits so they also offer greater nutritional value. Consider warm berry cobblers, baked apples, carrot cake and/or smoothies that make use of fruits and even veggies.

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