As temperatures take a turn toward the chilly, some of us may begin reaching for comfort foods sure to boost our spirits amid the cool fall and winter weather.
But unfortunately, most of those foods are high in calories and low in nutritional value.
Registered dietitian and chef Michelle Dudash says there are some fall comfort foods perfect for filling you up without hurting your waistline.
Check out Michelle's top five picks and what to do with them for dinner tonight!
This creamy winter squash bursts with nutrients. Simmer it in soups, puree into pasta sauces, or simply peel, cube and roast. To prepare, toss it with olive oil and sea salt and bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes, which will produce a sweet, caramelized, lower calorie comfort food. One cup of cubed roasted butternut squash only has 40 calories and 3 grams of fiber.
Whether sautéed with a little garlic and onion or roasted for 30 minutes at 375 degrees, Brussels sprouts morph into an earthy, delicious fall vegetable with only 70 calories per cup.
When roasted with a few cloves of garlic, a drizzle of olive oil, a spritz of lemon juice and a sprinkle of salt, cauliflower develops an entirely new flavor and texture. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 450 degrees. At only 70 calories per cup, your waistline can probably afford a second helping.
This smaller squash offers a more intense flavor and is non-committal with only 2 to 4 servings each. Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and bake facedown on a sheet pan for 45 at 375 degrees.
Try roasted pears when you’re trying to cut back on calories but still crave a comforting dessert. When roasted at 400 degrees with a light sprinkle of brown sugar and cinnamon they become golden, caramelized, and deeply sweet. Check them every 10 minutes until roasted to your liking. One large roasted pear provides 130 calories and a whopping 7 grams of fiber.
For more of Michelle’s food tips, visit her blog at www.michelledudash.com.
Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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