How to make Comfort Food Healthier
New year, new healthier me
New year, new healthier me. A typical resolution we all make year after year. We are sure that some of you motivated people have managed to keep this up – but, unfortunately, for some, it can be hard to find the balance between enjoying your favourite meals or making healthier choices. However, what we have found out is that usually, our biggest downfall can just be a lack of inspiration for dish ideas to help jump-start a health kick.
Although us Brits are masters at cooking up some absolutely amazing comfort foods – healthiness isn’t usually the main priority. While we’ve very much of the mindset ‘everything in moderation’, if adding some healthy twists to our favourite dishes means that we can enjoy them more often, we’re all for it! So, fear not, here at British Corner Shop we have chopped the veg, cut the fat, and poached the eggs to give you our ultimate tips and tricks to make your favourite meals a tad healthier.
Arguably the most iconic breakfast, that is loved in every corner of our wonderful little island, is the full English. Although (as much as we would love it to be) this doesn’t exactly spring to mind when thinking of a healthy meal. However, there are a few simple tips and tricks to make this a healthier option if you cannot do without our nation’s favourite breakfast.
One of the easiest hacks for this is simply poaching your eggs as opposed to the more traditional choice of frying them – this will result in less oil and, therefore, less of those unhealthy fats. Try skipping the toast and hashbrowns, and ensure your plate is overflowing with lovely grilled tomatoes and mushrooms to help bulk out the meal instead. By doing this you will also be on to a fantastic start for getting your 5-a-day!
Finally, although considered a vital addition to fry ups by meat-eaters, ditching the bacon and sausages may be your best bet, as these are by far the most unhealthy part of the dish. If you can’t go without your bacon fix, cutting off the visible fat and grilling instead of frying will be a big help.
Beans on toast
Another beloved British dish is the classic beans on toast. There are a couple of things you can do to make this high protein and fibre rich dish extra healthy. Choosing the right bread should be your first step – going for either whole wheat or sourdough will be your best option as these are high in fibre and keep the calories down.
Secondly, although one of the most appealing factors to beans on toast is the convenience, if you have the time to make your baked beans from scratch, you will be able to make them even healthier. This simple mix-it-all-together and simmer recipe, using haricot beans, can be made in advance and frozen to keep your breakfasts (or any other meal for that matter) healthy for months to come. However, if you don’t have the time to make this yourself, always make sure you go for the reduced sugar alternative to keep things both convenient and healthy.
Sadly, we also have to add that to keep this option healthy, you can’t smother the whole thing in cheese like many of us are inclined to do…
A great classic comforting lunch to help keep the calories down is to serve up a piping hot jacket potato – minus being slathered with butter obviously! This lovely filling dish is really versatile and can be topped with near enough anything you fancy. Of course, depending on what you put on it this dish can get naughty fast so be careful!
To make deciding on your filling even easier for you, there are several already healthy things throughout this article you can use to top your jacket. You can simply throw on some of your pre-prepared baked beans from up in the breakfast section, or serve up with your leftover curry from further on in this article.
Another great tip to make your jacket potato even healthier is to mix things up and use sweet potato instead. Although this won’t make a huge difference in terms of calories, you will be getting a considerable amount more of those lovely vitamins and antioxidants that we all need to stay fit and healthy.
Bangers and mash
When it comes to British comfort foods, nothing quite compares to bangers and mash. But, once again, this is rarely seen as a healthy meal. Fortunately, there are a few options to help drop the calories and boost the veggies. Firstly, going for low-fat sausages is an absolute must – certain brands can actually be as low as 70 calories and half a gram of saturated fat per sausage!
Now, onto the mash, your best bet in terms of dropping the fat is to go for low-fat milk and ditch the butter. Another easy trick is to throw a few extra root vegetables into the mash – think parsnips, butternut squash, carrots or swede. Not only will this enhance this beloved dish, but it will also ensure you are increasing your veggie intake and dropping the calories. In order to avoid the much loved, yet unhealthy, gravy with your meal; why not try adding some mustard to your mash for extra flavour.
In terms of sides, with your bangers and mash, the options are almost endless. Make sure you serve up a portion of steaming hot carrots, green beans or peas to ensure you are bulking your meal with healthy goodness and getting closer to hitting your 5-a-day.
As Brits, it is safe to say that we all love, and constantly crave, an Indian. Unfortunately, when it comes to the takeaway, there is very little you can do to ensure a healthy meal. Luckily, there are several tips and tricks you can do when cooking up a storm yourself. By far the easiest way to reduce those calories is swapping the meat for wonderful fresh veggies. A few of our favourites to add in are: chickpeas, lentils, spinach, butternut squash, or sweet potatoes. Not only will this make your curry absolutely delightful, but you will also be one step closer to hitting your 5-a-day and will be getting a tonne of fibre.
Another quick win when making your homemade healthy Indian is to ditch the cream – many curries use cream to give that thick and wonderful flavour we all love. However, going for a tomato-based curry will not only be a treat for your taste buds – it will be an absolute joy for your waistline as well.
Finally, opt for brown rice and ditch the naan to keep this healthy. If you cannot bear the thought of a curry without naan, why not try a roti or chapati instead? Unlike naan, these don’t contain cream so will be slightly kinder to your figure.