5 Crazy-Good Comfort Food Makeovers

Think eating comfort foods is an indulgence? Think again. With simple swaps, lean protein choices, and a little creativity you can enjoy your favorites any night of the week without an ounce of guilt.

By making simple ingredient swaps, you can enjoy your favorite comfort foods any night of the week without an ounce of guilt. All of these dishes have fewer than 500 calories per serving.

Meatloaf (above)

Food Network Kitchens created a Cheesy Meatloaf with Green Quinoa for about half the calories of traditional meatloaf by using a combo of extra-lean ground turkey and beef along with spinach and cilantro. A sprinkle of full-fat cheese, melted on top, provides just the right amount of gooey goodness.

Calories per serving: 430

Bonus points for: quinoa on the side!

flank steak


Who says you can't enjoy a juicy steak for not a lot of calories? This Flank Steak with Creamed Swiss Chard and Pine Nuts stars a lean cut of beef paired with greens and a whole-grain roll for a quick and healthy weeknight meal.

Calories per serving: 470

Bonus points for: using reduced-fat cream cheese for the creamy Swiss chard



This Three Bean and Beef Chili comes in at under 300 calories a serving, thanks to extra-lean ground beef. The aromatic vegetables and tomatoes contribute to the classic chili flavor, but the real secret ingredient is the smoky chipotle chile in adobo sauce.

Calories per serving: 295

Bonus points for: a trio of canned beans (pinto, kidney and black)

Meat Lasagna

Conventional takes on this delicious noodle dish can rack up more than 1,000 calories per serving. But this Meat and Mushroom Lasagna dials things back by replacing a portion of the usual beef with portobello mushrooms.

Calories per serving: 450

Bonus points for: enlisting whole-wheat lasagna noodles

chicken pot pie

Chicken and Biscuit Pot Pie; Ellie Krieger

Photo by: Tara Donne

Tara Donne

Chicken Pot Pie

Order this classic at a restaurant, and you'll probably be downing about 900 calories and more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium (an entire day's worth) per serving. Ellie Krieger cuts the calories by more than half in this Chicken and Biscuit Pot Pie by using a combination of low-sodium chicken broth and low-fat milk for the filling. And in place of a hefty traditional crust, here you'll find dollops of biscuit topping.

Calories per serving: 400

Bonus points for: swapping in whole-wheat flour for a portion of the biscuit topping

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition.

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