10 Better-For-You Comfort Food Recipes


Mac and cheese, pizza, potato chips, candy—what’s your go-to comfort food? When you’re stressed out, upset or frustrated, cravings for normally-forbidden foods are difficult to ignore. But you know they won’t make you feel better. Plus, your healthy diet doesn’t deserve the fatty, fried, carb-heavy or sugar- and sodium-laden fare–not without a dose of guilt! Comfort food shouldn’t make you uncomfortable, so when cravings strike, turn to this list that offers 10 healthier versions of these classic food favorites. They’ll help you satisfy your munchies without regret and without quadrupling your time on the treadmill.

1. Mac and Cheese –> Sweet Potato Vegan Mac and Cheese

Hold the cheese and dairy, please. By making use of a few smart substitutions and vegan cooking secrets, you’ll be able to whip up a soul-warming bowl of this vegan, nut-free sweet potato mac that may convince even the most die-hard dairy lover that vegetables make everything better.

Ditch dairy and get the recipe –>

2. Cheese Pizza –> Spinach & Artichoke Gluten-Free Pizza

If it’s delivery or takeout, it’s not going to be as healthy or wholesome as homemade. Don’t fret dealing with dough because this gluten-free pizza recipe features a gluten-free pizza crust mix that makes baking a breeze.

Pump up pizza night –>

3. Spaghetti & Meatballs –> Zoodles & Black Bean “Meatballs”

Vegan black bean meatballs and zucchini noodles | www.vitacost.com/blog

Traditional pasta noodles leave a lot to be desired, nutritionally speaking. But, luckily, you don’t need wheat-based spaghetti to get a bowlful of slurp-able noodles to the table. Instead, spiralize zucchini for the base of this dish and toss with nutritious vegan meatballs made from black beans and oats.

Slurp ’em up –>

4. Fried Chicken Tenders –> Baked Quinoa-Crusted Chicken

Quinoa-Crusted Chicken Tenders on White Plate with Veggie Bowls | Vitacost.com/blog

Like many food described as simple and comforting, plain ol’ chicken tenders can be a bit boring. How do you up the excitement factor and boost the nutritional content? Coat your favorite finger food with organic quinoa before baking! Once you’re ready to eat, dunk them into chipotle sauce, organic ketchup or honey mustard.

Find the fork-free fare this way  –>

5. Pot Pie –> Gluten-Free Veggie Pot Pie

Making a pot pie usually means pulling a preservative-packed frozen concoction from a box—not something that makes you very happy today. Here’s an alternative that’s fresh and easy to make, filled with tasty veggies and topped with a homemade, gluten-free crust.

Pop over to the recipe –>

6. Mashed Potatoes –> Low-Carb Mashed Cauliflower

Kick carbs to the curb! In this recipe, cauliflower makes the perfect substitute for potatoes, especially when it’s mashed with a little coconut milk instead of butter or cream. Serve alongside your new favorite quinoa-coated chicken fingers for a full meal. 

Get mashing –>

7. Potato Chips –> Oven-Baked Rainbow Beet Chips

Baked Beet Chips Recipe

When crunchy cravings strike, chips are the first snack you reach for. But you know you shouldn’t, so bake a batch of these healthier crisps to satisfy munchies mindfully. Made with thin slices of colorful beets, they’re not only fun to pop in your mouth, they’re loaded with healthy antioxidants, fiber and nourishing nutrients.

Crunch away –>

8. Chocolate Pudding –> Chocolate Protein Mousse

It’s always a good time to pause for dessert. So, when your sweet tooth demands some attention, feed it this protein-packed, single-serving dessert. The pure flavor and light calorie profile is just what you need for a sweet, guilt-free indulgence. 

Start moussing around –>

9. Ice Cream -> Raspberry Coconut Milk Ice Cream

4 White Ramekins Overflowing with Raspberry Coconut Milk Ice Cream | Vitacost.com/blog

You can make melt-in-your-mouth ice cream using sweet and healthy ingredients and your blender! With the satisfying flavors of coconut milk and cashew butter, you’ll burn through these eight servings of raspberry ice cream in no time!

Churn, baby, churn –>

10. Peanut Butter Cups -> Vegan Cacao-Peanut Butter Cups

Homemade Cacao and Peanut Butter Cups Stacked on Plate | Vitacost.com/Blog

Pure, raw cacao powder and creamy coconut butter replace plain dairy milk chocolate in these better-for-you nut butter cups. Bonus? There’s no obnoxiously-colored, crinkly plastic wrap standing between you and these candy bites.

Go nuts –>