If you turn to food for comfort as the weather cools, you might have seasonal affective disorder, or S.A.D. The condition, which affects people when the daylight hours dwindle and the wintry chills set in, causes increased appetite and a desire to carbo-load, says CNN. Even those who don’t have S.A.D. “may experience mild depression or worsening mood during colder, less sun-filled days due to more moderate changes in brain chemistry.”
In general, “people may also be less active and less social in the winter, which could increase anxiety and depression and lead to stress eating and overconsumption.” To stave off some of ill effects of S.A.D. and the vicious cycle of inactivity + stress eating, we collected five healthy-ish recipes that take popular comfort foods and swap out the most fattening ingredients.
- Fast White Bean Stew: The cannellini beans plus baked ham in this recipe feature that creamy and salty combo you’re looking for a filling all-in-one meal.
- Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Tenders: Just baking instead of frying these tenders reduces a significant amount of fat.
- Turkey Sloppy Joes: If you like turkey burgers, you should be cool with turkey sloppy joes. Lean ground turkey can typically “contain 10-15 percent fat compared to the 20 percent fat content of that ’80 percent lean’ ground beef at the market.”
- Healthy Mac’n’Cheese: Mac and cheese described as “healthy” always sounds suspect. Cheese is cheese. But this Oprah-approved recipe relies on butternut squash and Greek yogurt to ape the rich texture of traditional mac’n’cheese.
- Light Chocolate Chunk Brownies: Some recipes will call for butter substitutes, but we don’t like nixing butter. Still, with three forms of chocolate used in this recipe, you probably won’t notice that it uses apple sauce and sour cream as an alternative.