When your favourite comfort food is calling, it can be hard to resist. Crisp and crunchy fish and chips, juicy burgers and decadent chocolate brownies are simply too much of a temptation, no matter that you’ve promised to be good this week. But you don’t have to choose between health and hankering after a little indulgence: we’ve rewritten the cookbook to give five comfort foods a healthier makeover.
Using simple swaps we’ve reduced the salt, sugar and fat content of some of our favourite family meals, as well as increasing the vitamin and mineral content with a few extra portions of veg. What’s more – there’s no compromise on flavour.
Here’s how to have your cake and eat it (and your chips, and your fry-up …).
Healthier burger and chips
Adding grated carrot or courgette to your favourite burger recipe is a savvy way to cut the fat content and increase your daily veg intake – and it keeps burgers moist, too.
Grate the vegetables finely, squeeze out as much liquid as you can, and stir in to lean mince, adding a dash of Worcestershire sauce and an egg to hold it all together. Cook the burgers on a griddle or in a frying pan and pile them up with plenty of tomatoes, crunchy lettuce and pickles.
For healthier chips, cut large potatoes into thick fingers, boil them for four minutes and then roast in a hot oven with a drizzle of olive oil for 30 minutes or until golden. Less grease, less guilt – and lots of grinning faces around the table.
Better weekend brunch
Rather than messing up every frying pan in the house, try cooking your weekend breakfast in the oven like a tray bake. You’ll use less oil by cooking all the ingredients together, and by opting for Heinz No Added Sugar Beanz, which are naturally high in fibre and protein and have 25% less salt than standard baked beans, and you’ll get a healthier breakfast all round.
Start by roasting sausages with sliced red onion, small cubes of sweet potato and a drizzle of oil in a hot oven. After about 20 minutes, or when the potatoes soften and the sausages are almost cooked through, add baby tomatoes on the vine, a handful of sliced flat-cap mushrooms and a few thyme sprigs, and bake for another 10 minutes. Make eight small gaps in the tray; crack eggs into four of the holes and spoon Heinz No Added Sugar Beanz into the others, then bake for four minutes until the egg whites are set and the beans are warmed through. Serve with toast and a pot of tea.
Feelgood fish and chips
Replace your normal fish-batter recipe with this healthier egg-based version – it’s salt free and cooks well in the oven. Not only are you increasing the protein content of this family favourite but by avoiding the deep-fat fryer you’ll cut down the fat content considerably.
Whisk one egg white until stiff peaks form, then fold it into the broken yolk, adding lemon zest and finely chopped parsley. Dip two cod fillets into the egg-white batter and bake at 200C/fan 180C/gas mark 6 for 15 minutes until the batter is crisp and the fish is cooked through. Serve with healthier oven-cooked chips, see recipe above, and minty crushed peas or with a big green salad.
Guilt-free chocolate brownies
It’s a universal fact that the ultimate chocolate brownie should be dense and fudgy on the inside, with a slightly crisp top for complete satisfaction. The big secret is that this can be achieved without a lot of butter and sugar!
Tinned black beans or sweet potato work wonderfully in chocolate brownies, as they have a natural sweetness and a fudgy texture that stands up to the dark chocolate. For black bean brownies, replace the butter with a tin of beans and a little oil. And replace the sugar with maple syrup. For the sweet potato option, use two large sweet potatoes cooked and mashed and 14 dates to replace the butter and sugar respectively.
A more unusual substitution is mayonnaise. Swap out butter for your favourite low-cal mayo and you’ll get the same rich, gooey brownie but with less fat and fewer calories.
Alternative beans on toast
Yes, beans on toast covered in melted cheese can solve most of your problems, but there are healthier ways to get the same hit. This baked-bean quesadilla is a fun, Mexican twist on a teatime treat and has all the beany-cheesy goodness but less sugar, salt and fat. Heinz No Added Sugar Beanz count as one of your five a day, and they’re naturally low in fat, with no added sugars, artificial colours, flavours or preservatives, which makes them a healthier alternative for all the family.
Heat up a portion of the beans and then microwave two wholewheat flour tortillas for 15 seconds, or until warm. Spoon the hot beans over one tortilla using a slotted spoon so you don’t get too much sauce (no one wants soggy tortillas), and mash the beans lightly with a fork. Sprinkle with low-fat feta cheese, fresh coriander and a squeeze of lime, then put the other tortilla on top. Cut into four and serve with a big green salad, and a slightly smug feeling on the side.
While you might not be able to stop the cravings, you can transform your food with a few healthy swaps – like using Heinz No Added Sugar Beanz, sneaking in some extra vegetables, or getting creative with your cooking.
Find out more about Heinz No Added Sugar Beanz here