500 Calories or Less Comfort Foods
You can still enjoy your favorite comfort foods as part of a healthy diet with a few simple swaps.
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Healthy Comfort Food
Comfort foods can be high in calories and fat. Large portions of fried foods, creamy sauces and gobs of cheese can easily tip the scales at over 1,000 calories per serving, which is more than most folks need in a meal. While everyone’s calories needs are very different, 500 calories, from balanced, whole food ingredients is a reasonable average. With a few simple swaps, many of your favorite foods can be made healthier and lower in calories. Here are 13 comfort food classics with fewer than 500 calories per serving.
First up? Ellie Krieger’s super-simple spin on fried chicken uses crushed corn cereal flakes plus a blend of spices for a very crunchy dish. A go-to for a fast weeknight meal with only about 15 minutes of prep time!
Get the Recipe: Oven Fried Chicken
A touch of sweet Italian turkey sausage makes this pasta dish hearty, yet sensible. The cheese layer is filled with part-skim ricotta and low fat cottage cheese along with some part-skim mozzarella, which helps keep the calories in check at 350 per serving.
Get the Recipe: Sausage Lasagna
Lemon-Garlic Shrimp and Grits
Typically drenched in butter and cheese, this quintessential comfort food can easily be made lighter with proper portions and sharp and savory Parmesan cheese. High protein and low calorie shrimp top off the meal and keep it under 400 calories per serving.
Get the Recipe: Lemon-Garlic Shrimp and Grits
Mexican-Inspired Chicken Stew
With 276 calories per serving, Dave Lieberman’s lightened stew is will warm up any week night. Made with plenty of vegetables and rice, leftovers of this one pot wonder make a great lunch the next day.
Get the Recipe: Mexican Chicken Stew
Mom's Turkey Meatloaf
Ground turkey is the superstar in Ellie’s meatloaf. It’s filling, delicious, and you can’t beat 210 calories per serving. Serve with roasted potatoes and a green salad for a well-balanced meal.
Get the Recipe: Mom's Turkey Meatloaf
Quick Turkey Chili
This 35-minute chili is a perfect weeknight meal that’ll warm your bones for around 400 calories per serving. The impressive 38 grams of protein and 10 grams of fiber means you will feel pleasantly satisfied.
Get the Recipe: Quick Turkey Chili
Slimmed-Down Chicken Pot Pie
This classic can be lightened up with a few tweaks: low sodium chicken broth, more veggies, and a few sheets of phyllo for the crunchy topping.
Get the Recipe: Slimmed Down - Chicken Pot Pie
Macaroni and 4 Cheeses
This version uses sensible portions of full-fat cheeses for big flavor. Cayenne and mustard powder punch up the flavor, while pureed winter squash gives it a great mouth-feel — plus makes this recipe a wonderful source of beta-carotene, an inflammation-fighting antioxidant.
Get the Recipe: Macaroni and 4 Cheeses
Baked Fish and Chips
The coating in this fish comes from crispy rice cereal and egg whites. Stick to 2 tablespoons of tartar sauce to keep calories below 500.
Get the Recipe: Baked Fish and Chips
Yes, chicken parm can be enjoyed as part of a healthy eating plan. Food Network Kitchen’s 5-star version is ready in about 1 hour to create and weighs in at 435 calories per serving.
Get the Recipe: Chicken Parmesan
Turkey Meatballs with Quick And Spicy Tomato Sauce and Whole-Wheat Spaghetti
You won’t miss the fat with all the spices that kick up the flavor in this lightened up pasta dish. With around 450 calories per serving, you’ll even have room for dessert.
Get the Recipe: Turkey Meatballs with Quick And Spicy Tomato Sauce and Whole-Wheat Spaghetti
Double Chocolate Brownies
Sometimes a feel-good brownie is all you really need. Instead of downing close to 400 calories on store-bought varieties, make your own using better for you dark chocolate for 160 calories each.
Ellie Krieger's Double-Chocolate Brownies — Recipe of the Day
Ginger Angel Food Cake
Prefer a chocolate-free dessert? This light-as-air cake is made with fresh ginger and is made complete with a fruit forward sauce – all of this for 325 calories per serving.
Get the Recipe: Ginger Angel Food Cake