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Autumn is all about cosiness, lighting a fire, warm heavy knitwear, hot chocolate with marshmallows and snuggling on the sofa binge watching box sets.   I’m all over autumn comfort because I’m a comfort kind of girl at heart, so I’m over the moon that it’s finally here!

Darker evenings and colder temperatures make us want to instantly reach for our favourite comfort foods.  There’s nothing better that tucking into a hearty warm meal after a stressful day or a long walk. Comfort food is all about indulgence and feeling cosy, like a great big hug from your food – don’t you just love this time of year?

The food that we eat is heavily connected to our emotions so it’s no surprise that we turn to heavier meals in autumn to make us feel all snuggly inside and can even help improve our mood. I don’t see any problem at all with eating the food that you enjoy. In fact, I think we should be less scared and do more of it because it helps to nourish the soul and there shouldn’t be any feelings of guilt or self-hate in doing so.

Being healthy doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy these heavier starchy foods that are common in autumn.  You can indulge and dive right in, but also find some level of balance that works for you by being more selective with the ingredients you use and making healthy swaps to make your favourite comfort foods lighter and healthier.  The 80/20 rule works so well for my body, I get to feast on plentiful of amounts of healthy foods, but also indulge in naughtier treats too.  This is message is key and something that I constantly tell some of the ladies that email me asking for advice.  

So, if you think that being healthy rules out delicious and hearty comfort food then I’ve got you covered.  Below, I’ve listed a couple of my favourite ways to either make comfort food healthier or alternatives that taste just as good, but are lighter on the calories. 

Pizza

There aren’t many people who don’t love a pizza and I’m definitely in the ‘HELL YES!’ camp.  To lighten things up or to inject more nutrition into your pizza, try creating a crust using vegetables, like these bases. 

Shepherd’s Pie

All that fluffy mashed potato is delicious, but you can get far more nutrition into your shepherd’s pie by swapping it for a root vegetable mash or sweet potato mash instead. 

Cream

As delicious as sauces made with cream can be they’re not the healthiest.  You could use less than the recipe calls for and add more stock or use something like full-fat Greek yoghurt to add a lighter creaminess to your meals. 

Apple Pie

Mmmm…such a British classic!  Why not swap all of that pastry for a baked apple with honey, raisins and cinnamon on top and serve with single cream or full-fat Greek yoghurt? 

Casserole with Dumplings

OK, so it’s kind of hard to make a dumpling healthy and for it still taste the same.  However, you could bulk up your casserole with lots of lovely vegetables to give it a healthy boost. 

Pasta

I love pasta, but sometimes it can leave me feeling bloated if I eat too much. Courgetti is a great gluten-free alternative that is so quick and easy to make too.

Why not give these healthier comforting savoury and sweet recipes a try that don’t compromise on flavour?

  • Slow Cooked Shetland Lamb Casserole With Creamy Herbed Polenta via
  • Slow Cooker Baked Beans via
  • Hidden Veg Meatballs via  
  • Vegan Shepherd’s Pie via
  • Blackberry Tofu Brulee via
  • Eggplant Parmigiana Shakshuka via
  • One Pot Vietnamese Beef Stew via
  • Spicy Vegetable Goulash via
  • Slow Cooker Vegetable Stew via  
  • Feel Good Fish Curry via

Next time you’re craving comfort from your food this autumn, try to make some of these healthy swaps or recipes to help make your favourite comfort foods that bit healthier. Don’t be scared to make things from scratch and experiment to make your comfort meals more balanced – it’s all part of the fun when it comes to food!

What’s your favourite comforting meal?  How do you make your comforting meals healthier?

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