5 Comfort Foods That Aren’t All That Good for You
Fall is here and winter is quickly approaching, we’ve already lost an hour of daylight, and temperatures across the country have been cooling. You may have already started to reach for your favorite winter comfort foods. Warm, heavy dishes that may help boost your mood, but can add unwanted fats to your daily diet.
American Dietetic Association spokeswoman and Registered Dietitian (RD) Katherine Tallmadge told WebMD that, “In summer there is an abundance of light foods, but when winter rolls around it is natural to want to beef up and yearn for richer foods.” It is also easy to fall victim to overeating in the winter because when ”there are 10 types of holiday cookies or several creamed side dishes, it only makes sense that you want to try them all.”
Many of the pitfalls surround high fat content, and loads of carbs, calories and sugar. Read ahead to be aware of the pitfalls contained in five favorite winter eats so you can plan to partake is seasonal favorites without overdoing it, or find a healthier version.
1. Pecan Pie
It has nuts so it’s healthy right? Wrong. So wrong. A delicious treat every now and again, don’t let pecan pie become a regular part of your diet at winter gatherings. Slices tend to contain over 500 calories, and between 22 and 27 grams of fat. Compare that to pumpkin pie, which has about 14 grams of fat per slice. Pecan pie also delivers 79 grams carbs and 33 grams of sugar. Pecan pie is also loaded up with syrup, sugar and butter, not only in the pie crust, but throughout the pie as well.
2. Starbucks’ White Hot Chocolate
The description of this winter pick-me-up is enough to entice most people to order it. Starbucks claims to have taken an old classic and put its own spin on it, making it “creamier than creamy” with “buttery white chocolate flavored sauce to make our traditional hot chocolate even richer.” But all that buttery, creamy goodness comes with a price, paid in 19 grams of fat — 12 grams of which are saturated fat, 60 percent of daily recommended intake — 63 grams of carbs, and 480 calories. That’s just for a grande! If you decide to get the most bang for your buck with a venti, you’ll be sipping away over 500 calories, and only gaining a lot of calcium.
3. Chowders and Bisques
“Warm soups and chowders feel so nutritious, but if they are loaded with cream, they are also loaded with calories,” according to Tallmadge. Ordering them while out to eat promises to serve up saturated fat, like the 29 grams of fat Applebee’s Fiesta Corn Chowder side, about half of which are saturated fats.
If you’re going for at-home convenience, the Campbell’s variety doesn’t do much for your waistline even if it beats the clock. One can of Campbell’s Chunky New England Clam Chowder has 26 grams of fat, 460 calories and 1,780 milligrams. Since soup is often served with another food item, like a sandwich, the heaviness of chowders and bisques is not only in the thickness of the soup, but the weight of the meal.
But don’t think you’re off the hook with just regular old Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup either. This kid-crowd pleaser and nostalgic favorite for many has 890 milligrams of sodium in one serving. A can, by the way, holds two-and-a-half servings.
4. Pot Pies
By combining vegetables, meat, and dairy into one self-contained serving, pot pies may appear to be a healthy choice until you start reading the numbers. A serving of a Marie Callender’s pot pie will generally have about 500 calories and 30 grams of fat, approximately half of an adult’s daily intake. Mind you, if you’re eating Marie Callender’s you’re doing better than if you have a 16 ounces of Stouffer’s Satisfying Servings White Meat Chicken Pot Pie. The nutritional information only lists one half serving, but who eats half a pie? Once you eat that other half, you’ll have taken in more than your allotted sodium and saturated fat for the day, as well as half the day’s calories at 1,180.
5. Cheesy baked pasta dishes
Lasagna, macaroni and cheese, or any other pasta coated with gooey cheese favorite you can think of all have the same inherent health problems. Notably, the big offenders that have plagued the rest of this list — high fat, calories, and carb contents. One quarter cup of macaroni and cheese, for example, can have nearly 300 calories, and let’s be honest, who is eating just a quarter cup at a time? Calorie and fat totals can tally higher when meats are baked into either dish. But, these dishes can be made healthier, just check out the comparison FitDay did between two homemade recipes and see how you can lower saturated fats and refined sugars without giving up what you love.