Everyone has comfort food they turn to when they’re tired, stressed, tired, sick, and/or depressed. Mine falls into two categories – sweet and salty. Oh, sure, there’s the comfort of a thick, flavorful soup. But mostly I want comfort in between meals and that’s why I start to prowl for something that will hit the spot.
Before WW, I would stock up on ice cream, virtuously thinking something like Edy’s Slow Churned would work. It’s so yummy and feels rich and tasty on a sore throat. Of course, everyone knows that a portion isn’t really 1/2 C. It’s more like a cereal bowl, though if you eat out of the container, it’s surprising how much you can eat even without a bowl.
Chocolate and cookies are also good comfort food. I can eat an entire bag of Fig Newtons at one time even though I get sick afterwards now. I just like the figgyness and soft texture. Soft, creamy, rich are all factors for my comfort food. A hard Chips Ahoy cookie won’t cut it.
Chips aren’t soft and creamy but they have lots of flavor and crunch, which is also comforting in the right food. I rarely eat plain potato chips but can inhale tortilla chips. I’ve switched to the lite versions when I do buy chips but can’t keep them in the house on a regular basis, since my mouth thinks the entire bag is a serving. Sometimes I substitute a small bag of Soy Crisps which gives me crunch, flavor, and lots of protein.
Of course, not being stupid, I can’t keep many of these things around the house or office because they are so comforting that I could easily eat a whole box or carton without realizing what I’m doing. And out of discipline, I try not to buy these things even away from my regular places. When I do, my body tells me it’s not a good idea, something I don’t usually remember when I start stuffing my face.
I can not substitute carrot sticks or oranges as comfort food. I know they’re good for me but the taste doesn’t satisfy my comfort needs. I do make Pudding Yogurt, varying flavors of pudding and the fruit I mix with it; it’s rich and creamy and usually can satisfy my craving for ice cream.
Snack-size popcorn bags are a god-send in my life. I buy the 94% fat free kind in the mini bags and keep a few in the office, just in case a craving hits. Popping that little bag can mean the difference between controling the intake and making a run on the vending machine. It’s enough food without being too much, crunchy and salty and only one point!
I’m also fond of Vitatops, little individually wrapped treats with lots of fiber and only one point. The company makes muffins, too, but the vitatops are the size of the tops of muffins and completely satisfying. Although I can find the muffins locally, I like the tops better. I buy them online – my favorite flavors are Banana Fudge and Fudgy Peanut Butter Chip – and freeze them on receipt, keeping half in my home freezer and half in the work freezer. Put one in the microwave for 10 seconds and you have a nice warm sweet chocolatey thing to have with a bottle of water or glass of milk for a very satisfying, comforting snack.
Baked apples are another good night time comfort food for me. Core an apple, sprinkle nutmeg and cinnamon, add 1 TB of craisins in the core, pour some sugar free raspberry soda over it, cover and microwave for approximately 3 min. (depending on the size and type of apple – I prefer Cortlands). This is a great evening snack with only a few points and tons of flavor. The heat and mushyness of the apple soothes my tummy.
A nice cup of tea is good when warmth is what I’m looking for but it’s often not enough. It’s a place to start, though. I invest in good tea, preferably Tazo because I like herbal tea with lots of body and flavor.
Investing in foods that satisfy is worth the money and effort. If I substitute something that doesn’t measure up to what I’m craving, I find that I just eat more and more of something I don’t really want, trying to feed that taste bud. For example, I’ve fallen in love with Hershey’s Sweet and Salty Granola Bars with Pretzels and seem able to eat just one, which makes my mouth very satsified. I looked for one today and but ended up settling for Kudos bars. Nice concept but not nearly satisfying enough and I found myself opening several to get the comfort taste I was looking for.
I figured out what was going on and threw out the rest of the package. Yayy me! I like having options but there’s no point in keeping things around that get me in trouble because I like them too much or am just looking for what brings the food comfort I seek.
Of course, sometimes I can get the comfort in other ways besides filling my tummy – stretching and moving my body, talking to a friend, getting a hug or sitting in the hot tub. But when food is what I really want, I need to know I can handle it and stay in control.