March 01, 2011

By Tina Haupert

Especially during the long, cold winter, comfort food feeds my mind, body, and soul. If I had it my way, I'd eat everything covered in melted cheese. But I know this isn't the healthiest option, especially because all of those extra calories and fat will likely turn up on the scale! To help maintain my Feel Great Weight while still satisfying my comfort-food cravings, I like to make healthy swaps in my meals. Try these three healthy comfort-food makeovers.


Gingerbread Smoothie
When my sweet tooth strikes, instead of heading straight to the freezer for a bowl of ice cream, I whip up this quick and easy smoothie. Spices really amp up the flavor without adding calories or fat. The ground ginger and cinnamon make this smoothie taste just like gingerbread but for a fraction of the calories.

Makes 1

1 cup Almond Breeze
1 pear, diced
1 scoop of Vanilla Whey Superior Charge
Handful of ice
A few shakes of cinnamon
A few shakes of ground ginger

Combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Enjoy immediately!


Butterscotch French Toast
Who doesn’t love French toast? Or butterscotch for that matter? However, those of us watching our weight don’t love the calories, fat, and sugar in such an indulgent breakfast. I don't like missing out on my favorite foods, so I substitute butterscotch extract for the sugar many recipes call for. Figure-friendly, without sacrificing flavor!

Makes 2 servings

1/3 cup liquid egg whites
1/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons butterscotch extract
4 slices whole-grain bread

Whisk first three ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Heat pan (or griddle) over medium heat; coat with nonstick cooking spray. Dip slices of bread in mixture and place in pan. Cook each piece for 2 to 3 minutes and then flip. Cook second side for about 1 to 2 minutes until golden brown. Remove from pan and serve with your favorite toppings.


Cannellini Bean Grilled Cheese Sandwich
If you're craving something warm and ooey-gooey, sinking your teeth into a grilled cheese sandwich feels—and tastes—like heaven. Unlike traditional grilled cheese sandwiches, this cheesy makeover features whole-grain bread, antioxidant-rich garlic, and fiber-packed spinach and beans. Swap the butter with heart-healthy olive oil and reduce the amount of cheese you use. The combination of ingredients enhances the flavor of the sandwich while cutting back on calories and saturated fat!

Makes 2 sandwiches

1 can (15 oz.) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
4 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons water
4 slices whole-grain bread
Baby spinach
2 slices Swiss cheese (or Jarlsberg, etc.)
Olive oil

Puree beans in food processor. Add garlic cloves and water as needed. Add Dijon mustard to bean mixture. Blend until smooth. Spread bean-mustard mixture on one side of bread and place one slice of cheese and several spinach leaves on the other. Coat frying pan with olive oil, turn on medium-low heat, and grill sandwich on skillet until bottom is golden brown (approximately 3 to 5 minutes). Flip sandwich and cook until cheese is melted.