Danica Patrick: Have your comfort food and be healthy, too

January 28, 2016 | by Danica Patrick
I do not always eat healthy food. (I know! *gasp*)

Once in awhile, when I’m out at a nice restaurant and I’m dying to have some truffles, guess what? I have risotto with truffles. I like wine and chocolate, too.

I don’t eat that way all the time, though. In fact, I rarely eat that way.

When I’m at home, I always eat healthy because I have complete control over what goes into my meal. On the road, I’m one picky restaurant patron.

Over the years I’ve figured out how to make my favorite comfort food healthier.

When the weather gets cold, I eat a lot of the same things I eat in the summer – but I adjust my recipes. Summer means raw sushi and salads and cold food, while winter means warming things up and shifting to root vegetables and roasted meats instead of grilling.

Comfort food that’s healthy and tastes good is pretty easy to make once you figure out what works.

Take it easy with the butter. You already know if you drown your food in butter and oil, it’s not going to be good for you. To eat healthier, get in the kitchen, get your apron on and experiment.

Find ways to add flavor without adding a ton of calories. Search for inspiration online! Follow social media accounts of people who share healthy recipes.

Start with something naturally delicious. Take cauliflower, sweet potatoes or squash, brush on a little olive oil, season it up and roast it. It will taste and smell divine. Mash it up for an incredible side dish. SO yummy!

Swap out high-calorie condiments. One rule of thumb: substitute great-tasting, lower-calorie condiments and seasoning for gloppy, creamy topping. Do you like tacos? Try some really great hot sauce and chopped cilantro instead of sour cream (and maybe swap fish for ground beef!).

Winterize your food. Take your favorite summer recipe and change it up for chilly weather. Instead of a cold salad, sauté some veggies. You can’t go wrong with some kale, cherry tomatoes, onion, maybe some mushrooms, and a splash of olive oil warmed on the stove. Pair it with roasted chicken or some baked fish. Try making soup – nothing beats a pot of savory, homemade broth packed with vegetables and whole grain noodles on a cold day.

If you want to get really serious, analyze your favorite comfort food recipe and rewrite it with healthier ingredients.

Take one of my boyfriend’s favorite meals: southern fried chicken with all the fixings. I made it for his birthday – with some healthy driven modifications.

I “fried” the chicken by coating it with whole grain breadcrumbs and seasoning and baking it, mashed some cauliflower into a creamy side dish and served it with a side of sautéed greens. It was delicious and definitely a healthier option than the traditional recipe.

Have you changed an unhealthy comfort dish into a healthy one? Please share your recipe in the comments!

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