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If we could, we’d eat comfort food for every meal, every day (hellooo, lasagna). But since we don’t always feel awesome after eating a giant plate of cheese, we’ve found eight ways to get our indulgent food fixes without overdoing it.

RELATED: 29 Healthy Meals to Make Every Night in November (Except Thanksgiving)

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Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

Order Healthier Versions

When you go out to eat, there are actually a ton of ways to eat not-so-healthy food without going overboard. For example, order thin-crust pizza instead of deep-dish or sweet potato fries instead of regular fries. You’ll still get what you want (melty cheese, crispy potatoes), but you can feel a whole lot better about doing so.

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Box Half of Your Entrée

If you’re at a restaurant, save half of your order for a future meal. Some restaurants will even let you box half right up front, taking away the temptation to go all out once you’re served. Plus, it’s such a treat to whip out a gourmet meal at work when you usually just eat a sad desk salad.

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Order Kid’s-Size Ice Cream

Restaurants that have children’s menus typically hold you to the whole 12-and-under thing, but all bets are off at ice-cream shops. You totally deserve a little dulce de leche but probably don’t need four massive scoops, so compromise and order an itty-bitty cup or cone that’ll give you a taste without any regret.

RELATED: 10 Ways to Make Mac and Cheese Healthier

comfortfood swaps
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

Make Healthy Ingredient Swaps

Did you know that cauliflower makes a really convincing pizza crust? Or that zucchini can be spiralized into noodles that take the place of pasta? They can, and they’re as delicious as they are calorie-saving. We’re not saying you should never indulge, but using these healthier ingredients lets you enjoy pizza and "pasta" a lot more often.

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Eat a Big Salad First

This goes whether you’re eating in a restaurant or at home. Before you get to the carby, fatty, delicious stuff, fill up on a big, beautiful salad loaded with veggies. Then have a small, appetizer-size serving of the comfort food. After filling up on greens, you probably won’t want more than that, but you still get to have some.

RELATED: 16 Homemade Salad Dressings That Will Actually Make You Want to Eat Salad

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shironosov/Getty Images

Share

When you’re craving something unhealthy, you’re probably not craving as much of it as you think you are. So, if you can, have the meal you really want but split it with someone else. Or better yet, order or make a bunch of dishes—some healthy, some not—and share them all with a group, potluck-style.

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Take Your Time

It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to realize that you’re full, so spoon a few bites onto a separate plate instead of diving headfirst into that skillet of mac and cheese. Put your fork down in between bites and really think about how great your food tastes. Chances are, you’ll end up eating less because you’re giving yourself enough time to realize that you’re satisfied.

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Think About Your Drink

If you’re eating a heavier meal, stick to water or seltzer instead of drinking a calorie-filled beverage. Also, drink water throughout the meal. Like chewing more slowly, constantly sipping water will let your brain get the message that your body is full sooner than it would if you rushedthrough your bites.

RELATED: 7 Things That Might Happen If You Drink a Gallon of Water a Day

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