Awareness, and a few simple food exchanges in the kitchen, could mean the difference between ingesting unhealthy comfort food meals and having heart-healthy dining experiences that last a lifetime.
Start by recognizing how many favorite, familiar recipes are loaded with heavy carbs or hidden sugars that we’ve come to identify as ‘Comfort Foods‘. Also consider that boxed or canned items only add chemicals and unnatural additives or preservatives. It is important to remember that nearly every recipe can be ‘overhauled’ into a healthier version with some basic food or cooking choices.
We certainly don’t want to pin a negative connotation to such a lovely notion.
The term ‘Comfort Food‘ insights a style of food that many of us associate with thoughts of childhood or home cooking, so it would be a shame to give up these family favorites and the connections or relationships we’ve established. Instead, the challenge is to think of ways to maintain these dishes, while putting a healthy spin on them.
Many of the familiar flavors can remain intact, or you might find the dish has blossomed into an even better adaptation. What a fabulous gift to give to our younger generations – healthy versions of our favorite comfort foods! So don’t clear out Grandma’s’ easy casserole recipes, or ditch all the family cookbooks just yet. Instead, start incorporating healthier alternatives that create an even more robust version.
Below are a few food exchange examples to consider when attempting to improve the overall health and diet for you and your loved ones. There are also links provided for gluten free cooking, recognizing the dangers of sugar, and continuing to incorporate healthy lifestyle practices by recognizing what you’re eating.
Food Exchange Considerations:
- Use homemade jams, jellies, or preserves with reduced sugar recipes, in place of sweet, bottled sauces.
- Replace mashed potatoes with items such as mashed cauliflower, or creamy Millet for a delicious gluten free dish.
- Cook with Quinoa or Brown rices to *incorporate gluten free and reduced sugar meals: for more information on *whole grain and gluten-free cooking, click on the link in this sentence.
- Cook with fresh ingredients, avoiding boxed, processed, or canned items.
- Trade out canned fruits containing high fructose corn syrups with fresh fruit or natural citrus flavors.
Follow these simple D.A.T.E. rules to stay abreast of the constantly changing world of food production and consumption:
- Do not simply rely on the sugar grams / or servings listed on the Nutrition Facts chart provided on every product. There may be 0 grams of sugar listed here, but added sugars in smaller quantities may still be contained within the product.
- Always read the INGREDIENTS LIST for added or *hidden sugars: for more information about the *dangers of sugar, click on the link in this sentence.
- Take time to understand what you are eating. An important healthy lifestyle practice is to recognize if it is *REAL FOOD that you are purchasing, consuming, or feeding to your loved ones: for more about the dangers of *Fake Food and the food industry, click on the link in this sentence.
- Educate yourself regularly. Know what chemical names are changing and being assigned to sugar and sweeteners. The industry is continually reinventing itself in an attempt to stay ahead of the informed consumer.
For ideas on where to shop for local or organic ingredients, please click on any of the links below:
• Boise Co-Op
• Whole Foods Market
• Brown Box Organics
• Idaho Organic Store Locator
From my home to yours: another favorite concept – enjoyed with nutrition in mind.