20 Winter Comfort Foods That Don't Pack on the Pounds

20 Winter Comfort Foods That Don't Pack on the Pounds

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As we head into the season of heavy, satisfying comfort foods, it’s all too easy to see the pounds come on — and not so easy to take them off.

Using bold flavours, nutrient-dense whole grains, produce and lean proteins (along with a few healthy cooking tricks) you can enjoy your favourite comfort foods without the weight gain.

Balance out your weekly winter menu by incorporating a few of our top healthy comfort food recipes to help fill you up, not out.

Hot and Sour Soup with Noodles

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Creamy Vegan Mushroom Fettuccine Alfredo

Creamy Vegan Mushroom Fettuccine AlfredoThis snug pasta eschews the use of cream, gluten and eggs, while still managing to taste super decadent. Gluten-free brown rice noodles, along with a silky cashew Alfredo sauce and hearty mushrooms combine in a must-make dish for every comfort food craver, regardless of dietary preference.

Get the recipe for Creamy Vegan Mushroom Fettuccine Alfredo

Chickpea Curry with Rice

Chickpea Curry with RiceCurry is easy to warm up to, supplying a whack of antioxidants from the variety of spices it contains, which double as calorie-free flavour boosters, so you can skip the heavy-hand of butter and oil. Coconut milk and chickpeas meld for a creamy, creamless vegan curry that comes together in no time.

Get the recipe for The Pioneer Woman's Chickpea Curry with Rice

Turkey Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie

Turkey Sweet Potato Shepherd's PieIn place of starchy, blood sugar-spiking white potatoes, this newfangled turkey shepherd’s pie gets a vibrant blanket of fibre- and potassium-rich sweet potatoes. Not only do sweet potatoes have more flavour than white potatoes, they’re a source of beta-carotene, which helps nourish dry winter skin.

Get the recipe for Turkey Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie

Slow Cooker Mushroom Barley Risotto

Slow Cooker Mushroom Barley RisottoWhole grain barley, packed with a nutty taste and chewy texture, smooths out into creamy risotto, replacing traditional white rice. Higher in fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals than its classic counterpart, it’s a healthier winter comfort food you’ll want to enjoy every week — and making it in the slow cooker means you can.

Get the recipe for Slow Cooker Mushroom Barley Risotto

Hot and Sour Soup with Noodles

Hot and Sour Soup with NoodlesWhile some gravitate towards more neutral tastes when it comes to comfort food, others crave the bold (and very warming) heat of chili. Hot and sour soup, a take-out staple, can be made at home, nourishing the body and soul with a rich, protein-packed broth. This winter dinner is ideal when you’re under the weather, but will satisfy any day of the week.

Get the recipe for Hot and Sour Soup with Noodles

Butternut Squash Soup with Fontina Cheese Crostini

Butternut Squash Soup with Fontina Cheese CrostiniPureeing naturally creamy vegetables into soup, such as butternut squash, makes them taste rich and laden with heavy ingredients, while remaining a comforting option for cold days. Additionally, pureed soups make you feel more full than broth-based versions, boosting their comfort food appeal even more.

Get the recipe for Giada De Laurentiis’ Butternut Squash Soup with Fontina Cheese Crostini

Tofu Chili with Avocado Salad

Tofu Chili with Avocado SaladThere are few things more comforting than a big bowl of chili. Make this meal lighter and suitable for vegetarians, while still pleasing omnivores, by replacing beef with tofu. And instead of sour cream, reach for the healthy fats and fibre in a creamy, satisfying chili topper that skips the dairy.

Get the recipe for Ricardo's Tofu Chili with Avocado Salad

Whole-Roasted Cauliflower with Hazelnut, Orange, and Saffron

Whole-Roasted Cauliflower with Hazelnut, Orange, and SaffronWhole roasted cauliflower is sure to get the conversation started. Infused with wintertime flavours of orange and saffron, this one-pot wonder is worthy of the spotlight at your next gathering. Serve with a side salad and roasted salmon for a complete, healthy comfort food dinner.

Get the recipe for Whole-Roasted Cauliflower with Hazelnut, Orange, and Saffron

Turkey, Kale and Brown Rice Soup

Turkey, Kale and Brown Rice SoupHeavy turkey dinners are often uninspiring, but turkey itself is a lean protein — and blank canvas — ready to soak up the flavour. This familiar yet unique winter soup employs iron-rich kale, brown rice and a fragrant broth for a comfort food meal that can be enjoyed al desko or in the comfort of your home.

Get the recipe for Giada De Laurentiis' Turkey, Kale & Brown Rice Soup

Slow Cooker Moroccan Turkey Stew

Slow Cooker Moroccan Turkey StewSometimes, we all need a break from beef stew, and this turkey version provides a lighter, leaner twist on the comforting classic. Spiced to perfection, and full of veggies and lean protein that simmer away in a slow cooker while you’re at work, it’s a meal that won’t pack on the pounds, while still packing in the flavour.

Get the recipe for Slow Cooker Moroccan Turkey Stew

Orange Chicken Tagine

Orange Chicken TagineInfuse your winter with the comfort food appeal of North African cuisine in a complete-meal stew that won’t leave your feeling heavy. The trick to this tagine is its layering of spices and sweetness, making it taste indulgent while remaining a wholesome weekday option that’s sophisticated enough for entertaining. Choose whole wheat couscous or gluten-free quinoa for an even healthier comfort food feast.

Get the recipe for Anna Olson’s Orange Chicken Tagine

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