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15 Comfort Food Fixes

A healthier take on some classic favorites


Canned Tomato Soup

Instead of adding water to your condensed soup, pour in an equal amount of either skim milk or plain soy milk. This will make it not only creamier but also higher in protein. To turn your bowl of soup into a meal, add some shredded cooked chicken or turkey. Or, if you like vegetables, try dumping in some defrosted spinach, broccoli, or mixed vegetables. Instead of oily croutons, crumble whole-wheat crackers over the soup. And if you love cheese (and what guy doesn't?), top everything off with 2 tablespoons of shredded low-fat cheddar.

Ice Cream Sundae

A cup of high-quality ice cream can have as much as 30 grams of fat. To make your sundae healthier, begin by switching your full-fat premium ice cream to a lower-fat, lower-sugar variety. There are dozens on the market: Haagen-Dazs, Breyers, and Ben & Jerry's all make great-tasting lean varieties. Then, instead of layering fattening sauces and sprinkles on your sundae, toss on a dash of ground nuts or a high-fiber cereal like Kashi's GOLEAN Crunch. Add a few slices of banana or a handful of berries for a good serving of vitamins and fiber. Top it all off with some sugar-free Hershey's chocolate syrup or Reddi-wip Light. And, of course, don't forget the cherry on top.

Chili

A few simple substitutions can transform any vat of ground beef, spices, and tomatoes from just another greasy bowl of chili into a healthy, filling, and hearty meal. First, forget about going con carne and chuck a can of rinsed black or red beans into your pot. This adds flavor and texture as well as fiber and protein. Then toss in a cup of corn (either frozen or canned) for more fiber and crunch. Finish off individual bowls of chili with shredded low-fat cheese, diced onion, and fat-free sour cream.

Milk Shake

Your average shake harbors more than 200 calories per cup. So the next time your ice cream craving strikes, think high-protein mini-meal rather than sugar-filled dessert. Start with a couple of scoops of sugar-free or no-sugar-added ice cream or frozen yogurt. Then fill your blender with skim milk instead of whole-and add a scoop of protein powder for a hefty nutrient boost. If you need a chocolate fix, add a dash of sugar-free chocolate syrup or cocoa powder. Or, if you prefer fruit flavors, drop in some bananas, berries, or a combo of the two for a truly guilt-free concoction.

Tuna Casserole

Pasta, tuna, and cream of mushroom soup are the three essentials for tuna casserole. To make this classic dish leaner, ditch the white pasta and use a whole-wheat pasta or pasta blend instead. Add a can of tuna packed in water-oil-packed tuna has twice the calories. Then, stir it all together with a can of low-fat mushroom soup (Campbell's has a line with 25% less sodium), plus - for flavor and fiber - a handful of either fresh string beans or frozen peas.

Grilled Cheese

As simple as it is to make, even the humble grilled cheese can be made healthier. Start by switching white bread for whole-wheat and regular American cheese for Kraft Fat-Free Slices. Regular cheese has 100 calories and 7 grams of fat per slice; the fat-free slices are only 30 calories and zero grams of fat. That means you can double up on the cheese for a gooey sandwich and still save calories. Instead of buttering the bread, spray it with butter-flavored spray and cook it in a nonstick skillet. For added cancer-fighting lycopene plus a dose of additional protein, layer a couple of slices of fresh tomato and ham or turkey breast. Cheesy and delicious.

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