Why You Love Comfort Foods and How to Make Them Healthy

  • 1

Few people can say no to comfort foods. Chocolates, pizza, macaroni and cheese, spaghetti, meatballs... all create a magical world in which we wish to indulge, even though they could clearly be a health risk. 


What's charming about comfort foods, and how to enjoy them while eating healthily? This article provides a hint. 



Emotional comfort and happy memories


People eat comfort foods more for fulfilling emotional needs than just feeding. Comfort foods are usually defined as foods that people have in order to feel pleasant or psychologically comfortable. That's also why we crave comfort foods.


A recall of happy memories and thoughts


A study published in the International Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science confirmed that certain foods can be associated with positive social encounters in the past and serve as comfort foods. 



The foods often have a special meaning, such as chicken soup your mom used to make for you when you’re sick, pancakes you once ate in a happy trip, and a memorable meal you enjoyed during Thanksgiving holidays with family. And whenever you recall the memories, you may want to try the foods again seeking for happy thoughts.


A relief from negative moods


Psychologically, sugary, fatty and carbohydrate-rich foods appear to provide immediate comfort, especially for people who are experiencing stress, anxiety, fear and frustration, according to studies.



Having comfort foods temperately


There’s a wide debate about comfort foods, mostly for its unhealthy trait. Most comfort foods contain too much sugar, saturated fat and refined carbohydrates, and excessive intake may hinder one’s concentration levels, raise the risk for heart disease and lead to obesity. 


However, if comfort foods mean something nice and happy, the best way is to enjoy them in small portions and on occasion. Complete reject may lead to negative thoughts and overeating; limited intake can both satisfy your appetite and prevent negative impacts on your health. 



You can also make your healthier version of the comfort foods by using alternative ingredients. For example, you can use natural yogurt as a substitute for cream and wholegrain bread for white.


But keep this in mind: if you take comfort foods frequently in order to relieve your bad mood, maybe it's time to find out what is triggering your negative emotions. Talk to your friends about your suffering, or seek help from your doctor to release your frustration and stress.

1 Answer

These messages are for mutual support and information sharing only. Always consult your doctor before trying anything you read here.
Trying hard to lose weight. Last week, I ate less, I ate healthier, I thought about comfort foods but I gave it up eventually. I did physical exercises each day, aerobic 40 minutes in the morning, anaerobic in the evening, but I didn't lose 1 gram! WHY? I'm so confused. I'm totally lost. What shall I do now?
Pending on the simple facts of whom you are ie ur health hx and  family hx. As some people  feel that if u change ur mindset u change ur life. Its not all food that we eat. Id like 2 believe treat the body  as a whole u would fine ur self in a better place emotionally as well, the pounds will fall off. Found a skill or hobby u love,refocusing on this so u say Im not dieting but modify my health choices so anyone that has the mindset is setting themselves up for failure and doomed 2 repeat. If u only look at the meal at hand as what is the healthest choice u will be better for it. If u have a smaller piece of cake u wont feel deprieved & cheating wont be a problem. Some people state side dont see the portions a bad thing that is the problem but its a big factor. I got rid of all my dinner plates bc it gives me the permission or availability 2 cheat. Id only have children plates as this will only allow smaller portions and does wonders as a feeling that u are staying within ur cal count but be careful on what u choosing aa this also a factor. Most say salad is good but after u add all rhe seasoning & salad dressing its worse than a burger. So choose wisely. Im sure if u spend more calories than u take in,well its a no brainer.Make sure if find a support group bc this really helped me & journal my food feelings &daily exercise as its a pain but it helps u recall the good, bad and the overcome moments that u can say I ve been trying I am going in a good direction
Hope this helps