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Nutritionist recommended healthy comfort foods to indulge while social distancing

All people react differently when it comes to stress. Some throw themselves into work, some workout to boost endorphins and others rely on snacks to provide comfort. Healthy eating is especially important because what you eat can affect the structure and function of your brain and ultimately, your mood.

Registered dietician and nutritionist, Molly Knauer, shares her favorite healthy alternatives to these comfort foods on our Instagram Lives. Check out our IG for the most recent schedule!

Woman opening a fridge

In case you’ve missed her weekly sessions, we’ve compiled her healthy quarantine-friendly recipes here!

Week #4: Pasta alla nerano

Pasta alla nerano

Ingredients:

  • 1 box chickpea, lentil, whole wheat or regular pasta (spaghetti is used traditionally but any type works
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 tbsp grassfed unsalted butter or ghee
  • 5 small zucchini
  • 1 clove garlic
  • handful of basil leaves
  • chili pepper (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Put a large pot of water on to boil for the spaghetti
  2. While that is heating up, clean and slice zucchini into long, thin pieces
  3. In a wide skillet over medium-high heat, add the garlic clove and olive oil so the mixture sizzles and the oil gets infused by the garlic. When golden, remove garlic and add the zucchini slices. Toss every now and then, legging the zucchini saute until tender but not brown.
  4. In the meantime, place pasta in the pot to boil.
  5. Drain the zucchini on paper towels and keep warm.

Why we love this recipe:

Cravings are inevitable and one of the most common food cravings is pasta. This recipe will allow you to indulge in that guilty pleasure in a nutritious way.

Week #3: Cookie Dough Dip made with Chickpeas

Egg-free cookie dough that will be devoured by the spoonful!

Egg-free cookie dough

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups chickpeas or white beans (1 can, drained and rinsed very well)
  • ⅛ tsp plus 1/16 tsp salt
  • Just over ⅛ tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup nut butter of choice (if you use peanut butter it will have a slight pb taste)
  • ¼ cup of milk
  • ⅓ cup of chocolate chips (can be sugar free)
  • 2-3 tbsp oats or flaxmeal

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients (except for chocolate chips)
  2. Place into a food processor, and process until very smooth.
  3. Mix in the chocolate chips. Make sure you blend and process long enough to get the correct consistency.
  4. Then it’s ready to enjoy with apples or graham crackers for optimal dipping.

Why we love this recipe:

We’ve never met anyone who doesn’t love raw cookie dough, so what’s not to love about a healthy version?!

Week #2: Nut and Seed Bread

Nut and seed bread

Perfect for family breakfast topped with ghee and honey

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1 cup raw walnuts
  • 1 cup raw pecans
  • 1 cup chia seeds
  • 1 cup whole flax seeds
  • 1 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 5 extra large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add all nuts and seeds.
  3. Add the eggs and salt, and mix until well combined.
  4. Pour mixture into two small parchment lined loaf pans, and bake for 25 minutes.
  5. Slice each loaf thinly, and enjoy!

Why we love this recipe:

It’s an easy gluten-free bread option for picky eaters and is full of essential nutrients such as protein, omega-3s, and antioxidants.

Week #1: Healthy Loaded Sweet Potato

A nutrient packed southwestern style loaded sweet potato.

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 can of black beans
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta
  • ¼ c. roasted red peppers
  • 3 tbsp. Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. Finely chopped parsley
  • ¼ tsp. of salt

DIRECTIONS:

  1. With a small knife, poke sweet potatoes all over; arrange in a large microwave-safe baking dish. Microwave on High 10 to 12 minutes or until easily pierced with a knife.
  2. Combine black beans, feta, roasted peppers, olive oil, parsley and salt. Cut lengthwise slits in tops of sweet potatoes. With a fork, scrape sweet potatoes to fluff and add blakc bean mixture to each potato half, packing to fit. Back at 400 degrees F on a foil-lined baking sheet for 10 minutes or until beans are hot.

Why we love this recipe:

Sweet potatoes tend to be forgotten about outside of Thanksgiving, but they are extremely nutritious and high in beta carotene, vitamins E and C, iron, potassium and vitamin B6.

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