Trim down your favorite comfort foods

But you can make your favorite comfort foods smart, and not only lower the calories, but boost your health as well.

Swapping traditional pancake mix for a whole wheat version ups the fiber content, making them even more filling, so perhaps you'll eat less. Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancake Mix, for example, offers 4 grams of fiber per serving.

If you're making pancakes by scratch, replace a quarter to half cup of the flour for oat bran or wheat germ to add fiber and texture. Use egg whites or egg replacer rather than the whole egg to cut cholesterol. Then stir blueberries into the batter to enjoy the sweet antioxidant power.

And rather than topping those pancakes with syrup, try agave, which can be found in health food stores. Agave doesn't raise glucose levels like other sugars.

Creamy garlic potatoes can get a bone-building bonus when a quarter cup of nonfat plain yogurt is added to the mix. Make them even better by blending a half cup of steamed pureed cauliflower to them to lower calories while maintaining a creamy consistency.

When it comes to mac n' cheese, it's easy to opt for skim milk rather than whole, and olive oil in lieu of butter, to offer less calories and heart healthy benefits. Make it even better by adding steamed pureed squash to the pasta dish to boost the vitamin A and C, along with adding a serving of veggies.

No matter which food is comforting to you, simply by trading full fatted dairy to reduced or fat free - along with adding some smooth creamy vegetables - can not only lighten the load, but it will keep that taste and texture in there as well.

How we made our pancakes:
2 pancakes per serving

3/4 cup whole wheat pancake mix
1/2 cup skim milk
1 serving of egg beaters
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 to 1 cup blueberries

  1. Stir in all ingredients together. Reminder -- do not stir batter too much, simply get ingredients wet.
  2. Drop about 1/4 cup batter per pancake onto lightly oiled or non stick skillet. Flip when most of the bubbles have popped. Serve.


How we made our garlic potatoes:

1 cup peeled cooked potatoes
3 frozen Trader Joe's garlic cubes (regular fresh garlic may be used)
1/4 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1 cup micro-waved then pureed cauliflower

  1. Using electric beaters, blend till smooth.
  2. Salt and pepper to taste.

Note: Using flavored sea salt like truffle salt or sun-dried tomato sea salt helps cut down on the amount of salt used while providing great flavor.


How we made our mac n' cheese:

Take your traditional recipe and swap full fat cheese for reduced fat, use olive oil rather than butter and whole grain pasta rather than standard. When finished stirring all ingredients together, microwave a 12 oz. box of frozen pureed squash and stir it into the pasta dish.


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