The other day I was stressed, tired and hungry. I needed comfort food, not a bowl of salad. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE salads and try to have one a day, but they’re not comfort food. So I picked my comfort food, and hid in the bathroom to eat it. Why did I hide in the bathroom you ask? Because I have children. Children who won’t come when I call and who suddenly lose the ability to hear when I ask them to clean their rooms. Yet I pull out something that may be considered a treat, or come in a package that resembles a treat package, their super-sonic selective hearing kicks in and I’m bombarded with “What is that?” “Can I have a bite?” and “I’m STARVING” (even if they ate lunch 5 minutes ago). It’s kind of like the law that if you get on the phone, the kids will need your attention that very second. The point is, I hide to eat my treats, and I’m not ashamed to admit it.
The best part of my treat-eating/hiding experience, I didn’t feel horrible after eating my treat. The old Ami would have hid and eaten a Snickers Bar or a few Oreos. This Ami hid and ate some Guilt-Free Banana Ice Cream. It’s kind of like eating Ben and Jerry’s Chunky Monkey ice cream, but without the sugar hang-over and regret half an hour later. I was comforted, I didn’t feel guilty and my kids never found out my secret.
I love the idea of this kind of food. The kind of food that is so decadent and delicious that you feel like you’re eating something completely unhealthy, when in reality, you’re not. It’s further evidence that you can eat healthy and still have delicious food. Here are some of my favorite foods that make me feel like I’m having a cheat meal, when I’m actually just eating healthy food.
Like I mentioned above, I love this ice cream. With just four guilt-free ingredients, this is healthy enough to indulge in whenever you need comfort food. Next time you want to watch The Notebook and cry into a carton of ice cream, reach for this instead. Oh, and pick a better movie.
French fries are generally on the bad list because they are deep fried in vegetable oil. These sweet potato fries from Pioneer Woman are oven-roasted in clarified butter. The healthy fat from the butter plus the nutrients in a sweet potato make this a safe cheat. These fries remind me of the Chris Farley scene from Saturday night live when he’s eating french fries with David Spade and Adam Sandler. If you haven’t seen it, click the link and watch… as soon as you finish reading this post about delicious food.
Take-out Chinese food (the way we American-ize it) is a definite “no.” Most the dishes are dripping in sugary sauces and are loaded with trans-fats. But the flavor is so addictive. When I made this, I was shocked that something that tasted so sweet and sinful could actually be good for me. I bumped up the flavor with herbs and spices, not sugar.
Breakfast pastries are bad for so many reasons (refined carbohydrates, lack of protein, sugar, etc.), but these are a great substitution. Dunk this in a cup of my guilt-free hot chocolate and you will have all the comfort you can possibly stand.
A warm, salty breadstick is the epitome of comfort. These breadsticks from Primally Inspired have healthy fat and aren’t full of processed, white flour like so many. Dip these in my sugar-free marinara sauce and you have the perfect indulgence. This is like having pizza but doing it the healthy way.
There is a reason our moms make us soup when we’re sick. Soup makes us feel better physically and emotionally. When I eat this creamy soup, I can’t believe it’s healthy. Packed with vegetables and healthy fat, this is a soup you can indulge in anytime.
Plantain Chips and Guacamole
This is one of my favorite snacks. Plantain chips are a great substitute for processed chips or crackers full of ingredients you can’t pronounce and guacamole is a super-food since it’s just avocados and veggies. It’s hard to believe that something so healthy can leave you so satisfied.
My other not-so-guilty pleasure with plantain chips is Nuttzo. It’s hard to believe something so rich, salty, creamy and crunchy is actually good for you. It’s like cashew butter and almond butter had a love child that is way better looking than either of them. I only buy the crunchy, because why would you buy anything else? This is great with plantain chips, apples or even on my Healthy German Pancake. When I eat things like this I always think, “eating healthy is completely manageable.