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Comfort food makeovers


Whether you’re feeling the winter blues or you are emotionally distressed for personal reasons, comfort food can feed your body and soul. However, those heavy fat-laden, carb-rich, and calorie-busting comfort foods you’re craving can pack on another reason to feel bad – that’s right, a few pounds on the scale and inches around the waist. To keep you slim and trim while still satisfying your comfort food cravings, try these three healthy comfort food makeovers.

Pasta Carbonara

Pasta carbonara

Serves 8

Pasta in any variation can turn the bluest day a happy hue. This healthy pasta carbonara makeover is lower in fat and higher in fiber than the classic calorie-bomb. Giving you an added dose of protein, edamame stands in for peas.


  • 1 pound whole wheat linguini
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup freshly shaved Parmesan cheese
  • A few grinds black pepper
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 cups frozen edamame (shelled fresh soybeans), thawed
  • 4 to 5 slices turkey bacon, browned, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoon half-and-half
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 to 5 fresh basil leaves, rolled tight, thinly sliced crosswise


  1. Cook pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks, yogurt, Parmesan, pepper, and salt in a bowl until smooth.
  3. Drain pasta in a colander and return to the pot, turning the heat down to low. Stir in edamame.
  4. Add egg mixture and bacon and toss pasta mixture until egg mixture evenly coats the noodles.
  5. Turn off the heat, and stir in half-and-half. Sprinkle with herbs, toss again, and serve immediately.

Grilled cheese and sun-dried tomato sandwich

Grilled cheese and sun-dried tomato sandwichMakes 1 sandwich

When you’re craving something warm and ooey gooey, sinking your teeth into a grilled cheese sandwich is the perfect comfort food cure for what ails you. This grilled cheese makeover features whole grain bread and antioxidant-rich sun-dried tomatoes while paring down on the butter and cheese compared to traditional grilled cheese sandwiches.


  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 2 slices whole grain bread, preferably a nut and seed bread
  • 1 thin slice dill or herb and spice Havarti cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil (drained)


  1. Spread butter on 1 side of each slice of bread.
  2. Heat a medium-sized nonstick skillet over medium heat and spray generously with cooking spray.
  3. Place 1 slice of bread, butter-side down in skillet. Crumble half the cheese over the bread in the skillet.
  4. Sprinkle bread in the skillet with sun-dried tomato and crumble remaining cheese over tomatoes. Top with second slice of bread, butter-side up. Gently press down on the sandwich.
  5. Cover skillet with a lid and let cook for 2 minutes or until bottom of sandwich is lightly browned. Carefully flip, press down with the back of a spatula, cover skillet, and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes or until cheese is melted and sandwich is browned on both sides.
  6. Transfer to a plate, cut in half, and serve warm.

Apple pie

Serves 8

Yes, it’s true: A slice of pie can go a long way in soothing a hurting heart. A single crust pie with a modestly sweetened and super spiced apple filling will go a long way in being kind to your waistline. This healthy apple pie makeover is not only lower in calories, fat, and sugar, it is also easier to make.


  • 4 apples, cored, thinly sliced
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Chinese 5-Spice powder or apple pie spice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 tablespoons butter, chilled, cut into small pieces
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons iced water


  1. In a large bowl, combine apples, lemon zest and juice, sugars, 5-spice or apple pie spice, and salt. Toss and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Add butter and use your fingers to rub butter into flour mixture until a coarse meal forms. Add water and toss with a fork until flour is moistened and a dough forms.
  3. Dump dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead just a few times to form a flat disk. Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. and grease a pie dish. Fill pie dish with apple filling.
  5. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 10 inch round. Lay dough on top of apples and crimp dough around edge of pie plate. Cut slits in dough to vent.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes then reduce oven heat to 325 degrees F. and bake for 30 to 35 minutes more or until crust is lightly browned and apples are tender.

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