What is comfort food, anyway? Is there an actual definition? Do some foods qualify as comfort food and others don’t? Well, here’s what Google says:
So, basically, anything that gives you “comfort”! That’s pretty broad.
When I think of “comfort food”, I think of Southern favorites that aren’t so healthy like Mac & Cheese and Fried Chicken. Of course, since getting healthy, some of those things just don’t fit in with my lifestyle. So, made some healthy comfort food recipes!
CAN COMFORT FOOD BE HEALTHY?
As it turns out though, MANY of my favorite comfort foods have healthier versions that fit in just fine with my “clean eating” lifestyle and they taste JUST AS GOOD or BETTER! I am not going to tell you that they are low calorie or low carb, but we don’t believe in low calorie around here anyway. When you eat REAL food, restricting calories to 1200 isn’t necessary at all.
Many of these healthy comfort food recipes do contain gluten (in the form of whole grains, not refined grains), dairy, and other possible allergens, but they don’t contain “food-like substances”. These aren’t all recipes I would be eating every single night, but they can fit into a healthy plan just fine.
COMFORT FOOD RECIPES
In the two sections below, I’ve listed out 10 of my absolute favorite healthy comfort food recipes from our larger list of recipes and then added our entire list in a grid so you can search them all.
MY FAVORITE COMFORT FOOD RECIPES
Chili and Cornbread
Since this is a list of MY favorite healthy comfort food recipes, I get to put my chili first! It really is my favorite. Of course, we all think our chili is the best, but even if you already have a favorite chili, you should give this one a try. You don’t have to say it’s your favorite, but I bet you will like it. In this recipe, it’s conveniently paired with 100% whole grain cornbread that beats any boxed mix out there.
Southern Pot Roast
Even though I grew up with a lot of Southern comfort food, I never had this style of pot roast until just a few years go. It has become one of my favorites now! I love the spiciness. Give this one a try with the cream cheese cauliflower mash listed below instead of the regular mash from the recipe and you’ll be in heaven (I mean not literally…).
Cream Cheese Cauliflower Mash
No self-respecting person would put cauliflower mash on a comfort food list even if it is a healthy comfort food recipes article, right? Well, sneer all you want, but this recipe even made my 9-year old kids ask for more, so maybe give it a try.
Bacon Cheeseburger Mac-N-Cheese
Yea, wow. I mean, we also have regular mac-n-cheese that you can do in the Instant Pot or the stove top. But, this is loaded and amazing. This recipe makes a lot so you’ll have plenty of leftovers. It’s very rich so go easy, but it uses all real ingredients.
Heidi’s Never-Fail Meatloaf
It literally never fails to be enjoyed by all. This is THE meatloaf recipe and we hear that over and over again from our readers. If you want to take this and do something unique with it, try these meatloaf tacos. They’re like an entire meatloaf dinner made into a taco.
Heidi’s No-Boil Lasagna
With this recipe, you don’t have to boil noodles first AND you don’t have to buy special “no-boil” noodles. You just use 100% whole grain lasagna noodles and put them in the uncooked. It works like magic. You could also make this healthy comfort food recipe for “lightning lasagna” for an even quicker taste of lasagna.
Chicken and Waffles
This is another one that I never tried until I was an adult (when this picture was taken, actually). The combo may seem a bit odd if it isn’t something you grew up with, but it’s actually quite tasty. It combines two comfort foods into one. What more could you ask for?
Whole Wheat Pizza
Of course pizza qualifies as comfort food. This whole wheat crust and simple pizza recipe is on our menu at least once a month. Top it however you like, but definitely do this 100% whole wheat pizza crust.
Extra Crispy Baked Chicken
If you still want that deep fried chicken comfort, but you don’t want all the health implications, this will help.
Tuna Noodle Casserole
That box of Tuna Helper is of no use when you have this recipe. It will remind you of your youth without all the processed ingredients of the boxed meal.
ALL COMFORT FOOD RECIPES
You’ll find ALL of our healthy comfort food recipes in the grid below. You can use the keyword search box or you can just browse through them all and see what you find.