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How to Handle Comfort Food Cravings

By Sara Butler

Sometimes when you've had a long stressful day, all you want to do is dive into a bowl of gooey macaroni and cheese or scarf down a couple of slices of pizza. Sure, you could have broccoli, but sometimes all you want is the food you associate with comfort.

The issue is that many comfort foods are high in salt, sugar, and fat. When the cravings for some comfort hit, you may think it's best if you can avoid it. While you don't want to eat these comfort foods all the time, there are some ways to enjoy them responsibly. Here's what you need to know to help you balance cravings for comfort foods with your health.

Substitute Smartly

There are many easy ways you can make your favorite comfort foods a little healthier. All you need to do is think about some smart substitutions you can make.

What is a smart substitution? A good example is using Greek yogurt instead of sour cream when you get your favorite burrito. Or having a salad as a side with your cheeseburger instead of fries. That way, you can have what you're craving but tone down its unhealthiness just a bit. That way you won't feel so restricted and still get your fix.

Add to Your Comfort Foods

A great way to enjoy the comfort foods you crave is to bulk them up with fruits and vegetables. For example, if you want macaroni and cheese, then reduce the amount of cheesy pasta you enjoy by bulking up the bowl with grilled vegetables or a lean protein. If you want pizza, try a cauliflower crust pizza instead of the traditional crust -- loaded up with vegetables on top, of course.

Boost the Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are some of the most comforting foods out there, but you can give the nutrition of carbohydrates a boost pretty easily. As an example, if you want fried rice, try substituting brown rice or go half brown rice, half white rice. Or bulk it up with another grain such as quinoa or barley. You can even get riced cauliflower to add in some bulk without all the calories, helping you to stay fuller for longer.

Add Some Spice

Variety is the spice of life -- so spice up your food with a variety of spices to give it flavor without adding sodium. You can add a variety of spices to all kinds of foods, from potatoes to popcorn. Experiment to see what you like in each dish.

You don't have to swear off comfort foods, but there are so easy ways to make them healthier.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Lynnwood, Wash.

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