4 Winter Comfort Foods, Upgraded

We've rounded up simple ideas and recipes to transform grilled cheese, chili, and more into better-for-you meals.

You’ve stocked your fridge. You’ve committed to having the greenest smoothies. You’ve even managed to haul yourself to the gym most days. But then, it happens: It gets cold. So very cold. To help you win staying indoors, we’ve upgraded your favorite comfort foods with extra veggies, whole grains, and more. We've even included vegan, keto-friendly, and dairy-free twists. Why go outside with food this good?

Grilled Cheese

Upgrade this warm, gooey favorite by using 100% whole grain bread, fresh spinach and turkey. Instead of using butter, brush sliced bread with extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with garlic salt for extra flavor. Then, place sharp cheddar (slices or shredded), a handful of fresh spinach leaves and thin turkey slices between the bread slices, and finally, grill on a panini press or heat and crisp up in a sauté pan. Want to switch it up? Try different veggies — like broccoli, onions — or sweet potatoes. Experiment with cheeses, too. Get started with these recipes:


Get the nostalgia you crave, but with a twist. Try mixing cooked quinoa into a combo of ground turkey and ground beef with coarsely chopped and sautéed onions, carrots and bell peppers. And as every grandma knows, you can’t have meatloaf without potatoes — but you can swap out mashed potatoes for roasted sweet potato chunks tossed with paprika. (Promise it’s not heresy.) Try these recipes:

Mac and Cheese

Looking to up the dietary fiber of your favorite macaroni and cheese recipe? Replace some of the cheese with puréed cauliflower — its mild flavor makes it the perfect swap. Eating a keto-friendly diet? Switch out the pasta for small, roasted cauliflower florets for the pasta and top with crushed pork rinds before baking for crunch. (If you’re skipping dairy, try a creamy nut-based cheese in place of the cheese.) You can also add canned tuna to up the protein and/or frozen sweet green peas for another boost of dietary fiber. Eating dairy? Use a cheese that packs a punch of flavor — like Le Gruyère, extra-sharp cheddar, smoked Gouda or Gorgonzola. More ideas:


Chili is an ideal vegan comfort food, but you don’t have to follow a strictly vegan diet to love it. In fact, a vegan chili is a great way to eat more plants. Focus on black beans and pinto beans, along with canned refried pinto beans as a thickener, and add in as many vegetables as you’d like, such as pumpkin, diced portobello mushrooms and red bell pepper. Get inspired:

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