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Gimme comfort
Whip up these hearty—and healthy—meals

What are you in the mood for?

When cravings hit, check this list for healthy, delicious substitutions that will hit the spot—without derailing your healthy-eating plan.

Craving: Fried chicken
Try: Skinless white meat chicken or turkey rolled in corn-flake crumbs

Craving: Chocolate cake
Try: Angel food cake or gingerbread with fruit topping

Craving: Chocolate chip cookies
Try: Graham crackers, ginger snaps or fig bars

Craving: Ice cream
Try: Frozen yogurt, frozen fruit or a chocolate pudding bar

Craving: Potato chips
Try: Air-popped or light microwave popcorn

Craving: Homemade gravy
Try: Gravy mixes made with water or homemade with the fat skimmed off

Craving: Guacomole
Try: Salsa or low-fat vegetable dip

Recipes adapted from the National Institutes of Health’s “Keep the Beat: Heart Healthy Recipes.” Available at

It’s that time of year again: The holidays are over, the cold weather has come to stay and you’re spending all your time indoors. Before you drown your misery in a big bowl of mashed potatoes and gravy, consider this: It is possible to satisfy the urge without being unhealthy about it. Next time you feel the need to feed, try one of these lightened-up recipes instead:

Classic macaroni and cheese
  2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
  ½ cup chopped onions
  ½ cup evaporated skim milk
  1 egg, beaten
  ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  1¼ cups low-fat sharp cheddar cheese, finely shredded
  nonstick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray a two-quart casserole dish and a small saucepan with nonstick cooking spray. Cook macaroni according to directions, but don’t add salt to the cooking water. Drain and set aside. Add onions to the prepared saucepan and sauté for about 3 minutes. In a bowl, combine macaroni, onions and rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly. Transfer the mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Bake for 25 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Makes 8 servings.

Per ½-cup serving: 200 calories, 4 g fat (2 g saturated), 34 mg cholesterol, 120 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 11 g protein, 29 g carbohydrates, 119 mg potassium

Old-fashioned bread pudding with apple-raisin sauce

  10 slices whole-wheat bread
  1 egg
  3 egg whites
  1½ cups skim milk
  ¼ cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar
  ¼ cup brown sugar
  1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  ¼ teaspoon cloves
  nonstick cooking spray

  1¼ cups apple juice
  ½ cup apple butter
  2 tablespoons molasses
  ½ cup raisins
  ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  ½ teaspoon orange zest (optional)


Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray an 8x8-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Lay the bread slices in baking dish in two rows, overlapping them like shingles. In a medium bowl, beat together the egg, egg whites, milk, ¼ cup of sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract. Pour the egg mixture over the bread. In small bowl, stir together cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and the remaining 2 teaspoons of sugar. Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the bread pudding. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until it has browned on top and is firm to touch. Serve warm or at room temperature with warm apple-raisin sauce. Makes 9 servings.


Stir all ingredients together in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over low heat. Let simmer for 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Per ½-cup serving, with sauce: 233 calories, 3 g fat (1 g saturated), 24 mg cholesterol, 252 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 7 g protein, 46 g carbohydrates, 390 mg potassium

© 2014 Dowden Health Media