Not-So-Guilty Pleasures: Healthier Versions of Your Favorite Comfort Foods

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tropical fruit pizza
Photo: Courtesy of Wife Mama Foodie

Watching your food can be such a pain, especially if you’re on a particularly restrictive diet. After sacrificing your cravings to the low-carb, gluten-free, sugar-free, high-fat, high-protein gods, you’re left with fewer options than ever. Fortunately, recipe developers have been working diligently for years to perfect healthy, low-carb substitutes for your favorite comfort foods, including pasta, peanut-butter cups, and more. Below, you’ll find recipes that we, at Savoir Flair, have actually tried and tested.

1

Cheesecake

Cheesecake – that decadent, creamy confection that has been delighting palates the world over for years – is also a huge source of hidden calories, carbohydrates, saturated fat, and sugar. It’s also really hard to give up because it tastes so dang good. Fortunately, there are hundreds of recipes out there for making healthy cheesecake that tastes just as good as the full-fat version.

One of our favorite ways to make healthy, low-carb cheesecake is to whip up a batch of cheesecake cupcakes. Using only a few ingredients (like eggs, cream cheese, and a sugar substitute like Splenda), you can make these in less than five minutes of prep time. Pro tip: For a boost of protein, add a scoop of powdered peanut butter, which has less sugar and carbs than the regular kind. You can also skip the crust step for reduced carbs.

Find the recipe here.

2

Peanut-Butter Cups

When you think about it, you can really make anything sinful so much healthier by making it with healthy fats and sugar substitutes. At least, that’s the case with this low-carb version of peanut-butter cups. Oh, how we crave that amazing balance between sweet and nutty flavors. Fortunately, it’s super easy to recreate the recipe in a way that will benefit your waistline in the long run. This gluten-free, keto recipe tastes just like the real thing, with only 2.8 grams of carbs per cup.

Find the recipe here.

keto peanut butter cups
Photo: Courtesy of Seasonly Create Something New
3

Pancakes

In general, low-carb pancakes promise a lot: that they’ll taste better than the real thing, that they’ll be light and fluffy, and that they’ll be good for you. However, after experimenting with many recipes over the years, only one of these promises is true. Low-carb pancakes are easy to make and a great diet substitute, but they rarely taste better than the original and are never fluffy. Sad.

Enter: A breakthrough recipe that is not only insanely delicious and simple to prepare but also actually fluffy in texture. Bonus? Four pancakes have a total of five net carbs and 17 grams of protein, clocking in at only 365 calories.

Get the recipe here.

4

Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

Pasta snobs might have a hard time with this substitute, but we’re here to assure you that this swap is still ridiculously tasty. It’s likely that you’ve eaten zoodles before, but zucchini noodles hold up surprisingly well in any number of pasta-rich recipes like spaghetti and chicken fettuccine alfredo. Armed with a handy zoodle-maker, you can transform a carb-heavy meal into a healthy one by swapping regular pasta for zucchini noodles.

Find the recipe here.

chicken alfredo zucchini noodles
Photo: Courtesy of Parsnips & Pastries
5

Mash

Ever since the Atkins diet, people have been touting the virtues of mashed cauliflower over mashed potatoes, but have you ever tried it? We say it’s really no substitute. Most recipes are soggy, bland, and unfortunately still taste very much like cauliflower. However, with a few professional tweaks, you can make mashed cauliflower that actually tastes amazing.

The first trick is to lightly roast “riced” cauliflower before cooking with it. That eliminates the excess moisture that makes most mashed cauliflower so soggy. Second, once you’ve roasted off the moisture, cook your cauliflower rice for about ten minutes in boiling chicken stock instead of water – basically, you’ll replace flavorless water with flavorful stock for a big boost of yum. After it’s done boiling, purée the heck out of it while adding cream cheese, butter, garlic, and other delicious flavors.

Find the recipe here.

6

Donuts

Okay, there’s really no way to make donuts healthy. However, if you’re willing to accept the fact that they won’t taste like real donuts but will satisfy your fried-dough cravings, you can try a recipe that calls for coconut flour and artificial sweetener instead. Although the texture is different, the flavor is still there. Best of all, these “donuts” won’t have you feeling like a bloated Homer Simpson after binging.

Find the recipe here.

Fried coconut flour donuts
Photo: Courtesy of All Day I Dream About Food

Thumbnail photo: Courtesy of Skinny Me

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