5 Healthy Comfort Food Ideas for A Better Lifestyle

5 Healthy Comfort Food Ideas for A Better Lifestyle

The pandemic followed by subsequent lockdowns gave everyone a lot of stress. Due to this, people relied on different things to comfort them or help them cope – one of the common options being food.

Most of us tried to deal with the lockdown by indulging in our comfort food, including all kinds of junk items and the best luxury chocolates and desserts available.

While indulging in our comfort food may have worked for us by leaving us with warmth and improving our mood to an extent, giving up on your health and fitness entirely is probably not the smartest idea.

That said, comfort food when paired with the right ingredients can prove to be healthy for your system and improve your overall lifestyle. Through a few simple tweaks, you can turn your go-to food into something healthy without compromising on taste.

You don’t need to have some grand reason for wanting to incorporate more healthy dinner ideas into your weekly routine. Whether you’re trying to be more nutritious, eating more vegetables, or just looking to switch things up, these healthy comfort food ideas are sure to make any dinner crowd ecstatic.

Defining Comfort Food

When someone says these words to you, chances are your mind calls up very particular food types and the feeling you associate with them. The specific food you think about depends on your culture, family background and personal preferences. Comfort food is supposed to have a positive impact on your emotions and your sense of well-being. It is supposed to make you feel better. At least, that’s what people believe.

Understanding Why People Eat Comfort Food

When asked, most people believe that eating comfort food improves their mood. In fact, one survey found 81% of respondents thought eating this type of food would make them feel better quickly. The same researchers also found that people’s moods tended to improve regardless of whether they ate comfort food, non-comfort food, or no food at all!

Some comfort foods score high for health

Keep in mind that some comfort foods are naturally healthier choices:

  • Fruit cobbler that’s loaded with fruit and oats
  • Low-salt, broth-based vegetable soup
  • Roasted root veggies
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Lentils
  • Curry
  • Black bean soup
  • Cauliflower tacos


  1. Chocolate
  2. Cake
  3. Biscuits
  4. Crisps
  5. Ice cream
  6. Pizza
  7. Fish and chips
  8. Cheese
  9. Bacon sandwich
  10. Full English breakfast
  11. Crusty bread
  12. Burger and chips
  13. Chinese
  14. Toastie
  15. Chip butty
  16. Sausage sandwich
  17. Fried chicken
  18. Roast dinner
  19. Curry
  20. Sticky toffee pudding
  21. Pasta
  22. Steak
  23. Mac and cheese
  24. Fruit crumble
  25. Shepherd’s/cottage pie
  26. Beans on toast
  27. Lasagne
  28. Scrambled egg on toast
  29. Rice pudding
  30. Jacket potato

So, without further ado, here are a few healthy comfort food ideas for a better lifestyle.

Whip up some homemade soup

Turns out the idea that chicken soup can relieve cold/flu symptoms has some sound scientific backing. Hot liquids, like tea or broth-based soups, help loosen mucus and keep your body hydrated. Researchers have also found that chicken soup with vegetables may have anti-inflammatory properties. And let’s not forget the positive psychological effect a comforting bowl of soup can have when you’re feeling sick or just a little down.

Homemade broth-based soup can be fairly low in calories so it can help you manage your weight. It’s also a good vehicle for getting more vegetables into your diet, and you can customize it to your tastes or whatever veggies you need to use up. Whether you’re making your own stock or using stock from the store, be sure to watch the sodium content.

Healthy Pasta

Flour is the main backbone for every type of pasta. If pasta alternatives like zucchini or squash noodles do not appeal to your taste buds, using flour alternatives may do the trick.

Whole wheat, quinoa and oat flour are a few options you could consider for your pasta.

Although the preparation may be a little different from the traditional pasta, the health benefits it provides will be worth it.

Moreover, adding in greens like kale or leek can further enhance the nutritional value of the dish. Incorporate more green veggies instead of dairy in your pasta for a healthy and comforting pasta dish.


For many people, it’s the summer barbeques that have burgers calling their names. For others, including me, going to a pub in the winter and ordering a big juicy burger hits the spot – especially if there’s a fire going.

Unfortunately, if you add cheese and fries to this scenario, it can be a plated disaster. So here’s the deal: If you’re dining out, choose fries or the bun and pass on the cheese. If you’re making burgers at home, stick to no more than a 4-ounce serving and choose 90 percent lean sirloin. Use an English muffin instead of a big bun, and top the burger with lettuce and tomato. Then, pile your plate high with veggies. Beef is a great source of zinc, a mineral that may help boost your immune system, which is a real plus during the cold and flu season.

Dark Chocolate

Almost everybody’s go-to comfort food, chocolate is a sweet treat like no other. A favourite for people of all ages, chocolate serves as the ultimate comfort food across the globe.

Although chocolate may be scrumptious, the excess of sugar and added artificial ingredients, that are sometimes used in making them, can be relatively unhealthy.

Alternatives to traditional sweet chocolate or candy, however, can greatly improve your lifestyle. Opting for healthier versions like dark chocolate can prove to be good for your health. So why not indulge in luxury chocolates that are not only scrumptious and comforting but also healthy and fulfil your sweet cravings?

Although an acquired taste, dark chocolate is a great alternative due to the various health benefits it provides. It contains a lot of antioxidants and improves blood flow. Dark chocolate also reduces the risk of various heart diseases.

Another idea you can consider is to substitute regular chocolate in traditional desserts with dark chocolate to create a healthier dessert.

Grilled Cheese

Grilled cheese is one of those dishes that brings many people back to their childhoods. Unfortunately, though, they might not be burning as many calories as they did back in the day.

But you don’t have to avoid grilled cheese. First, I recommend making the sandwich on 100 percent whole grain bread to reap the fiber benefits. Next, use only two slices of cheese (they’ll give you some calcium) and a sliced tomato (nothing like a veggie opportunity). Use a non-stick pan with a teaspoon of olive oil to brown the bread on both sides until the cheese melts. If you tend to only want grilled cheese in a restaurant, may I suggest that you still ask for whole grain bread and tomato slices? Never let an easy healthy swap pass you by.


There is nothing better on a cold morning than to start your day with this 100 percent whole grain cereal. Packed with fiber, it will keep you satisfied until lunch. I eat it year-round – no matter the temperature outside. But I know many people only enjoy it once they’ve taken their winter coats out of storage.

The key with oatmeal is to keep it from turning into a sugary and high-fat meal. My go-to is quick cooking oats (not to be confused with instant oats), cooked with non-fat milk for added protein, sliced banana for sweetness and a tablespoon of chunky almond butter for healthy fat and an irresistible savoury taste. Trust me: The added sugar and cream will become a thing of the past.


“Eat plenty of fish, which are high in healthy omega 3 fatty acids, and smaller portions of red meat to reduce your risk of diseases like stroke, heart disease and cancer.”


“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” There’s a reason this saying exists. This low-calorie snack is packed with fiber to keep you full, carbs to keep you energized, and tons of nutrients.


Bananas are a great way to stave off cravings for sweets. Along with a reasonable amount of natural sugar and carbs, they’re packed with fiber, protein, and of course potassium and manganese, meaning they won’t make your energy soar and crash like candy and other sweets do.

Homemade Pizza

Greasy takeout pizza may be popular amongst all. However, its effects on our body are something you must consider.

Pizza is a popular comfort food choice which can be tweaked and made much healthier. Homemade pizza, for example, is always a good idea as you can customise the pizza according to your preferences.

Switching the all-purpose flour for the pizza dough with whole wheat flour is also an instant way to make the pizza healthier. Moreover, opting for healthier toppings like veggies and lean meats will increase the nutritional value.

Furthermore, you can opt for healthier oils to make the pizza non-greasy so that you can eat to your heart’s content without worrying – after all, nothing beats eating a fresh homemade pizza!


Blueberries are one of the highest antioxidant foods in the world, and evidence suggests that eating blueberries combats aging, boosts brain health, and fights cancer.


One of the cleanest foods imaginable, broccoli is a fantastic source of protein, essential vitamins and minerals, and dietary fiber.


Potatoes are a very good source of vitamin B6 and a good source of potassium, copper, vitamin C, manganese, phosphorus, niacin and dietary fiber. They are so good for you it’s a shame that many people only associate them with excess calories. But if you want to enjoy mashed potatoes and French fries on a regular basis when the fire is crackling, they might be come just that: excess calories. That’s why you might want to consider tweaking your recipe.

French fries can easily be baked at home instead of fried, and when mashing potatoes, you can swap in non-fat milk and olive oil for butter and cream. I suggest leaving the skin on, so you don’t lose any nutrients. For me, nothing beats a simple baked potato topped with black bean hummus and a dollop of low-fat sour cream.

Replace Beef with Tuna

Tuna serves as a great protein alternative to beef. Although this might require a little more persuasion, replacing the red meat with tuna can prove to be a much healthier choice for you.

Substituting meat with tuna for your burgers, wraps or sandwiches can help improve your lifestyle without compromising on the comfort factor.

The reason behind this is that tuna is a hearty fish with a unique texture, similar to that of beef. The omega acids and non-greasy qualities are what makes it a much better choice than beef.

Furthermore, tuna is very versatile and non-greasy; it can be cooked according to your requirements.


Movie theaters sell those 25-gallon tubs of popcorn for a reason: People love it. Watching a good movie at home is a good reason to make some, too. But popcorn, as fiber-packed as it is, can be unhealthy. Pop your own, in air, ideally. If you use oil, avoid corn, sunflower, or soybean oils.  And go easy on the salt, butter, and toppings.

Ginger Snaps

These cookies contain ginger, shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger also eases nausea and is a proven remedy for motion sickness. Add things like whole wheat flour, molasses, and cinnamon, and you have a rarity: A health-conscious cookie with cancer-fighting nutrients.

Shepherd’s Pie with Veggies

A classic dish full of warmth and hearty ingredients, shepherd’s pie can be turned into something healthier.

Through the simple addition of lentils and veggies, the dish can become more nutritional thanks to its increased fibre value and reduced fats. All this without compromising what the dish is all about – warmth.

Moreover, you can experiment and try different veggies and seasonings for extra flavour in the pie.

Add More Fruits and Vegetables

Healthy Comfort Food 1
Healthy Comfort Food

A simple way to improve your nutrition is simply to throw in more fruits and veggies. Comfort meal or not, these two food groups should make up at least half of your plate.

However, comfort foods tend to stray away from them, making them less nutritious.

The solution: Add broccoli to your pasta. Mix fruit into your ice cream. Throw mushrooms and green peppers onto your pizza. These are not magical fixes, and they won’t take away from the high levels of other things, like sodium, sugar, or calories. Still, fruits and veggies can add a little nutritional boost to an otherwise unhealthy meal.

Opt for Healthy Dessert Alternatives

If dessert is what comforts you, you’re not alone. Whether it’s ice cream, cookies, or chocolate bars, plenty of people turn to sweets after a rough day.

However, you can avoid overloading on sugar by finding healthy alternatives. Some ideas include:

  • Low-sugar popsicles
  • Frozen whipped cream
  • Frozen fruit, like blueberries or grapes
  • Chocolate-dipped frozen bananas
  • Baked fruits, like apples or pears

By tricking your mind into thinking you’re indulging in sweets, you can find a similar amount of comfort without consuming excessive amounts of sugar.

Finding Comfort Outside of Food

Whether you’ve had a rough day, been faced with bad news, or just need a way to unwind, everyone needs to be comforted now and then. While the occasional splurge is okay, it’s also important to find comfort and stress-relief in other things, such as exercise, art, journaling, or talking to supportive loved ones.

By finding ways to make your go-to comfort food a little nutritious and de-stressing in other ways you can make sure your body is healthy and ready to support you for many years to come.

You can modify nearly any comfort food recipe to make it lower in calories and fat and higher in nutrients. Cook foods at a low temperature for a longer period of time to draw out natural flavours. And remember every food fits in a healthy lifestyle even the unmodified classic recipes.

“Foods like oily fish, nuts and seeds are among some of my top recommendations for foods that benefit both mind and body. Packed full of nutrients, they are also all great ingredients for slow energy release, while things like brightly-coloured fruit and vegetables can really help with blood flow around the body including the brain.”


While comfort food may provide you solace, it may not necessarily improve your lifestyle and health. One of the things the pandemic has taught us is to focus on our health.

Though comfort foods vary widely, the idea behind them is the same — they bring comfort to the person eating them. This might be because the food reminds them of home or of a person that brings them happiness. Or, it might be because they simply love this food, and the idea of eating it is soothing and enjoyable.

Since the food you eat decides your lifestyle, switching to healthier options will prove to be a great choice for you in the long run. By swapping out a few ingredients in the recipes, you can make your favorite comfort food into a much better and healthier dish.

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