There’s something about comfort food that’s, well, comforting. The weather cools down, and that means we can turn on the oven again. I start making more casseroles, baked goods, and hearty soups when the weather is cooler. Of course, depending on how you make your favorite fall foods, you can easily add a few pounds by the winter holidays if you’re not careful. Thankfully, there are ways to enjoy your fall comfort foods while keeping it healthy.

Pies Without Crust

One of the most fattening parts of your favorite fruit pie is the crust. Make mini pies served in custard cups instead of a crust, and the calories will be much lower. Another way to make your favorite desserts healthier is by cutting the sugar. Most fruit is sweet enough without adding extra sugar. If you need to add sweetener, try stevia instead. It has zero calories and no effect on your glycemic index.

Dairy-Free Soups

There is nothing more filling than a big bowl of soup on a cold day. But dairy-based soups can be high in both fat and calories. To keep your soup on the healthier side, opt for dairy-free soups like split pea and ham, or Manhattan clam chowder. If you absolutely must have a cream-based soup, try substituting whole coconut milk for traditional milk in your recipe.

Healthy Swaps

Sometimes you crave a particular food or dish and don’t want to give it up entirely. If that’s the case, try one of these healthy swaps (look for recipes online).

  • Want pizza? Use a cauliflower crust instead of the traditional crust. Go lighter on the cheese and add more veggies.
  • Craving a big bowl of fried rice? Try making a cauliflower rice instead to cut the calories.
  • Instead of regular pasta, get a zoodler and make zucchini noodles instead.
  • If you want a baked potato topped with sour cream, try using Greek yogurt instead.

Split It

When you’re having lunch with a friend and you’re craving something fattening, suggest splitting the dish. If you want the baked macaroni and cheese, for example, you can both order salads and share the mac and cheese. You’ll cut the calories in half that way.

Do you have any suggestions for making your favorite fall comfort foods healthier?