More than ever, Americans who choosefood for both taste and health areturning to AICR’s New American Plate.They’re ﬁlling their plates with two-thirds(or more) vegetables, fruits, whole grainsand beans and one-third (or less) ﬁsh,poultry or red meat. They’ve heard thatexperts recommend a mostly plant-baseddiet to help reduce the risk of chronicdiseases like cancer and to maintain ahealthy weight.Traditionally, many comfort foods arehigh in calories and fat, laden with but-ter, cream, whole milk and cheese, andlacking in the nutrients and protectivephytochemicals (unique plant substances)that vegetables and fruits have to offer.The good news is you don’t have tostop eating your favorite comfort foodsto reap the health beneﬁts of the NewAmerican Plate. These dishes just needa little remodeling to help you reach the“
” ratio.Start by making a few healthy adjust-ments to traditional recipes. Thisbrochure contains 10 modiﬁed recipesfor some of your favorite comfort foods.Serve them in smaller portions,accompanied by an extra helping of vegetables. Try the suggested menus thatprecede each recipe to make these foodspart of a health-protective meal. By mak-ing simple adjustments, eating for ahealthy weight and a healthy life can becomforting, too.
What Are Comfort Foods?
Comfort foods can be deﬁned as feel-good,hearty foods that are both nourishing andnurturing. They are frequently craved inmoments of unhappiness, and, interestinglyenough, during times of celebration. Com-fort foods are what we ate at grandma’shouse, after a long day at school or whatmom served when we were sick. As adults,we relish ﬂavors from the comforting past.These foods take us back to a time whenlife was easier and someone else made thehard decisions.Besides the nostalgic feelings they evoke,it’s the textures and mouthfeel that makecomfort foods so appealing. They aregenerally characterized by moist, creamy,soft, mashed, rich or still-warm textures,and are known for having a relatively highfat content.Age, regional origin and ethnic backgroundall have a bearing on which items peopleconsider comfort foods. Many Americansinclude foods like macaroni and cheese,beef stew, chicken soup, chili, meatloaf,mashed potatoes, pizza, spaghetti, choc-olate chip cookies and rice pudding.Since many of these foods come from a time when the relationship between dietand disease was not well known, thesefoods are often less than healthful. Butrather than pass up the foods we crave, wecan make simple adjustments to increasetheir nutritional value. The result: “com-forting” foods that ﬁt well on the NewAmerican Plate.