Ask DJ Lyons: Can you turn healthy food into comfort food?

Portion Control Inner Kid

Portion Control Inner Kid
Portion Control Inner Kid | Source

Spiritual Guidance Diet #6- Can you turn healthy food into comfort food?

Introduction: Should you feel motivated or driven to consume comfort food, perhaps you can at least control what foods or drinks you select. Here are several suggestions for ways you can turn healthy food into comfort food.

To read the introductory stories, please read:

Ask DJ Lyons: Introducing Portion Control Kid

Ask DJ Lyons: See myself as Jesus would see me

Ask DJ Lyons: Getting down to brass tacks

Ask DJ Lyons: A Healthy way to start your day with Healthful Breakfast Muffins

Ask DJ Lyons: Celebrate each sign of success along your path

Calling all lovers of comfort food – come one, come all.

Calling all lovers of comfort food – come one, come all.

How often have you had a bad day and soothed it with some tasty morsels from your kitchen, a restaurant, or a grocery store?

As you stand before a delectable array of food that you find extra delicious, do you have a grasp on what emotions you are refusing to feel as you make your selections?

Tonight, as I waited for my hazelnut cappuccino to heat up to the perfect temperature, I found myself thinking, “I want to start eating and never stop.” The tone and emotion behind this thought reminded me of a small child throwing a temper tantrum. I did not feel depressed that I knew of. I’m not certain what thought process was working under the surface. It certainly wouldn’t have been the voice of my imaginary portion control kid who is all about eating the optimum amounts of foods fitting the food pyramid categories of grains, vegetables, fruits, oils, milk and milk products, and meat and beans.

Perhaps, instead, it was an imaginary inner child we can call torpedo child. Perhaps there is some part of me, some inner child, feeling deprived or obstinate at the thought that I am striving to eat a healthy diet on a regular basis not just for a few months to reach my weight loss goals but for the rest of my life.

Just like there are some submarines that lurk under the surface trying to destroy some enemy ship, perhaps torpedo child is lurking under the surface wishing to sabotage my weight loss efforts.

Should that be true, what is to be done about that? How can I combat this part of me who does not support my goal to be healthy, whole, slender, and weighing no more than 130 pounds?

Rather than refusing to allow myself to consume comfort food at all, perhaps instead, I can control what comfort food is selected.

For example, when craving dairy products in the past, I might resort to having a milk shake from Dairy Queen or dish out an extra large bowl of several scoops of ice cream from my freezer. Instead, I gave myself permission to have three cups of steaming hot and frothy Hazelnut cappuccinos rather than my normal two-cup limit. As I soothed Torpedo Child with this rich and tasty drink, I also appeased that obsession to suddenly abuse my diet and weight loss goals.

After indulging myself with this delicious drink, I can now try to get to the bottom of why I was feeling those errant emotions.

I strongly suspect some part of myself, the part that we will call Torpedo Child, is afraid that life and food will become boring if I continue to be all about the food pyramid diet. It certainly was extra boring for the six months I went though chemo and could not taste my food.

Therefore, I believe the solution will be to designate certain healthy foods as enticing comfort food options. Here are a few examples:

* Have three cups of Hazelnut Cappuccino rather than two. We are supposed to consume three cups of milk products daily. Normally, I have two cups of cappuccino every night to fulfill two-thirds of that goal. The other third might be cheese or plain yogurt mixed with fruit. Two cups of cappuccino ordinarily feels quite sufficient. When in need of comfort food, I will allow myself the third cup.

* We are supposed to consume 1 ½ cups of fruit per day. Eating one Gala Apple equals one cup of fruit. Allowing myself a second crisp and crunchy apple would bring me some extra feelings of comfort.

* When I feel the need to eat and eat and make that meal last a long time, I can fix myself an extra large salad made up of Romaine lettuce. I can chop up a bunch of carrots and celery to grace the top. As long as I limit myself to no more than two tablespoons of a lite dressing, I can munch on this salad with the comfortable knowledge that I am eating healthy without adding too many extra calories. What makes this even better is that we are supposed to have two to two and one half cups of vegetables daily. If we go over two and a half cups, there is, so to speak, no harm – no foul. Our body can only benefit from the extra fiber.

* Eating a bunch of pretzels, three cups of popcorn, or eating one Grape Nut kernel at a time fulfills part of the Grains category of the food pyramid. Those three foods can all be considered comfort food; however, there are also some nutrients in these that can be of some benefit to our body.

* I often have one cup of unsweetened frozen fruit chopped up with my food processor mixed with one-half cup of plain yogurt and two tablespoons of ground flax seed. I can make this dish last me about twenty minutes. When in need of comfort food, I can allow myself one and a half cups of fruit or perhaps two instead of just one cup. I feel extra indulgent as I am adding extra calories yet justified as eating fruit is healthy for our bodies.

* Another food I would consider to be comfort food is a toasted whole-grain English muffin covered with one wedge of Laughing Cow Cheese and a whole avocado rather than one or two tablespoons of this fruit.

What are your suggestions for healthy food that you can designate as comfort food? Please share in the comment section below.

Comfort Food Recipe Books

Simply Suppers: Easy Comfort Food Your Whole Family Will Love
Simply Suppers: Easy Comfort Food Your Whole Family Will Love

There are enough things to worry about, so why should dinner be one of them?

Simply Suppers has a recipe for every occasion, from casual weeknight dinners to elegant gatherings, and all the potluck suppers in between.

With simple, easy-to-find ingredients and step-by-step instructions, Jennifer Chandler will have readers in the kitchen cooking up those comfort foods from childhood in no time. Even those complicated recipes are made easy with Chandler's cooking tips. Braised Short Ribs, Butternut Squash Risotto, and even Creme Brulee will be a breeze. Fabulous recipes include:

Crock Pot Beef Stew

Baked Rigatoni with Sausage Meatballs and Spinach

Potatoes Au Gratin

Shrimp, Chicken, and Sausage Jambalaya

Chicken Pot Pie

Yellow Squash Casserole

With entrees, side dishes, and some simply fantastic desserts, Simply Suppers will be your go-to cookbook for all occasions.

Taste of Home Comfort Food Diet Cookbook: New Family Classics Collection: Lose Weight with 416 More Great Recipes!
Taste of Home Comfort Food Diet Cookbook: New Family Classics Collection: Lose Weight with 416 More Great Recipes!

A follow up to the best-selling original, this second volume of Comfort Food Diet Cookbook offers 416 new family friendly recipes for hearty all-time favorites with fewer calories than expected. In addition to hundreds of recipes, the book consists of testimonials and photos from actual dieters, a six-week meal plan, notes on exercise, tips on making healthy food choices, and more. Realistic portions combined with exceptional taste put pleasure back in healthy eating without sacrificing quality or satisfaction. After all, the Comfort Food Diet is about what people can eat, not what they have to give up.

Taste of Home Comfort Food Diet Cookbook: Lose Weight with 433 Foods You Crave!
Taste of Home Comfort Food Diet Cookbook: Lose Weight with 433 Foods You Crave!

Taste of Home Comfort Food Diet Cookbook presents a common-sense approach to healthy living and dieting by focusing on what people can eat, not what they have to give up. With the help of provided calorie counts, readers can plan their day and feel confident knowing they're within the desired calorie range for weight loss. All recipes come from real home cooks and combine realistic portions with exceptional taste-and all have been approved by the nutritionist on the Taste of Home staff.

Taste of Home: Guilt Free Cooking: 356 Home Style Recipes for Healthier Living
Taste of Home: Guilt Free Cooking: 356 Home Style Recipes for Healthier Living

Cheesy lasagna, hearty chowders, and chocolate you can indulge in these family favorites and still eat healthily! The 325 mouthwatering classics found in this beautiful collection of great-tasting recipes are true comfort foods and homespun staples prepared in light and healthy way. Shared by health-conscious family cooks, each dish features everyday ingredients which come together in a breeze. Over 230 full-color photos of the finished dishes make it easy to select the perfect family- pleasing dish and the final results a tasty success. This is the perfect kitchen tool for family-healthy diets.

Best of all, each recipe has an icon to make choosing every meal a cinch. A clock icon indicates that the recipe takes less than 30 minutes to make, another icon represents recipes that have fewer than 5 grams of fat, and a third icon indicates that the recipe has less than 500 mg of sodium. These healthy recipes are packed with flavor and include a wide range of ideas-from appetizers and soups to desserts and sweet treats plus entrees-and all include Nutrition Facts and Diabetic Exchanges to make it easier than ever to serve heart-smart sensations.

Comfort Foods: Rachael Ray 30-Minute Meals
Comfort Foods: Rachael Ray 30-Minute Meals

This collection of greatest hits featuring popular comfort foods includes a buttery Chicken Fricassee, zesty Pepper Steak, and Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese.

Southern Plate: Classic Comfort Food That Makes Everyone Feel Like Family
Southern Plate: Classic Comfort Food That Makes Everyone Feel Like Family

My name is Christy Jordan and I like to feed people.

I come from a long line of Southern cooks who taught me home cooking is best, life is good, and there is always something to be grateful for. I created Southern Plate so that I could share the recipes and stories that have been passed down through my family for more than nine generations.

You won't find fancy food or new-fangled recipes in this cookbook—just easy, no-fuss Southern favorites such as Chicken and Dumplings, Homemade Banana Pudding, Aunt Looney's Macaroni Salad, Fried Green Tomatoes, and Daddy's Rise-and-Shine Biscuits. (I want to make one thing as clear as possible: How your mama made it is the right way! I'm going to bring it to you how my mama made it, which is the only right way for me.)

These stories and recipes come from my heart. They are a gift from my ancestors, but the ability to have them heard is a gift from you. Take a seat at the Southern Plate table; you're with family now.

Now Eat This!: 150 of America's Favorite Comfort Foods, All Under 350 Calories
Now Eat This!: 150 of America's Favorite Comfort Foods, All Under 350 Calories

Popular television chef DiSpirito’s latest cookbook retools diet cookery in hope of convincing even the most stubborn gourmand to cut calories yet still maintain a regimen of delicious, satisfying foods not immediately perceived as diet food. To accomplish this, he takes up underused ingredients such as Greek yogurt, whole-wheat pasta, cauliflower, and reduced-sugar ketchup, whose benefits go beyond mere calorie trimming to add fiber and enhance nutrition. DiSpirito’s goal is to reduce calories in popular “comfort foods” to less than 350 per serving, and his methods yield some astonishing calorie reductions. Onion rings fall from about 1,800 calories to 342. Fried chicken loses more than half. In addition to building in lower fats, DiSpirito does his best to lower cholesterol, carbohydrate, and sodium levels as well. The frustrated gourmet compelled to address weight loss will thrill to DiSpirito’s novel approach, but it requires thorough pantry restocking. --Mark Knoblauch

Betty Crocker Comfort Food: 100 Recipes for the Way You Really Cook
Betty Crocker Comfort Food: 100 Recipes for the Way You Really Cook

From mac 'n' cheese and meatloaf to classic chili and chocolate chip cookies, nothing hits the spot like the foods you remember from childhood. This book is packed with easy-to-fix versions of all your favorite comfort foods, including breakfast anytime classics, soul-satisfying Mexican and Italian dishes and a greatest hits collection of yummy desserts. So if you've had a hard day at work or play, here are 100 great ways to dig into dinner.

Williams-Sonoma Comfort Food: Warm and Homey, Rich and Hearty
Williams-Sonoma Comfort Food: Warm and Homey, Rich and Hearty

A stack of blueberry pancakes drizzled with maplesyrup, a soulful dish of mac and cheese, spaghetti studded with plump meatballs, old-fashioned buttermilk fried chicken, warm peach cobbler with a scoop of vanilla ice cream-no matter what your idea of the ultimate comfort food is, you will discover it in this enticing collection of over 100 recipes for the most treasured American dishes.

For celebrated cookbook author Rick Rodgers, comfort food is all about nostalgic indulgences shared with family and friends. From meaty ribs slathered with barbecue sauce at a family picnic to a southern spread of panfried ham, cheese-laced grits, and flaky biscuits at the breakfast table to a towering slice of lemon meringue pie at supper's end, Rick shares his enthusiasm through personal tales and recipes for hearty, luscious foods that will take you back to childhood. These are the family classics that have been passed down through generations-the over-the-top dishes that you crave and that lift your spirits morning, noon, and night.

The rich assortment of recipes in Williams-Sonoma Comfort Food covers every meal throughout the day-breakfast, lunch, supper, and of course, dessert. Beautiful color photography, engaging personal tales, and the story behind each delicious dish will soon have you cooking all the foods you remember from the past.


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