12 Hearty Recipes That Aren’t Calorie Heavy

Every year, I promise myself that I’ll kick things off on a healthy note. Yet, without fail, the cold gets the best of me and I fall back into eating my favorite comfort foods. So, today I’m telling you how to break the cycle. With these 12 hearty, yet healthy recipes, you can make your body think you’re giving it the soul-satisfying foods it craves, without the calories to accompany it. If only I had discovered this approach before last year’s spring break plans. *Sigh.* Scroll down to see the recipes that will get your taste buds watering without hurting your waistline.

 1. Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes

The best part about sweet potatoes is that they’re filling, without leaving you uncomfortably full. For a savory take on ’em, I toss herbs on top — maybe even some melted cheese if I’m feeling daring. Or, if I’m craving something sweet, a dash of maple syrup and brown sugar make them equally as decadent and delicious.

2. The Ultimate Winter Bliss Bowl

Pinch of Yum is my favorite source for no-fail recipes. And this Bliss Bowl is no exception to that. Think everything you love on a cold day (re: roasted veggies, sauces, and vegetarian protein) tossed together in one bowl. It’s quick, fast, and easy (which is exactly how it should be).

3. Garlic-Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale Wheatberry Salad

Squeeze in all the antioxidants you love into one meal. This colorful, veggie-packed recipe is bound to give you a full serving of fiber that’ll tide you through those late night cravings. And trust me when I say it goes down even better the next day.

4. Thyme and White Bean Pot Pies

Swap Mama’s pot pie recipe with a vegetable-white-bean filling take and watch that guilt go right out the door. Since only 10 ingredients are involved, and 1 hour of prep time, this comfort food couldn’t get any easier.

5. Asparagus Spinach and Potato Soup

I love pulling out the slow cooker to whip up a soup that simmers in yummy flavors all day. This one, in particular, is jam-packed with greens to give you all the nutritional value you’d get from a salad, but in a cold-weather-approved form. Consider it a staple in my winter recipe rotation.

6. Brussels Sprouts and Quinoa Salad

I have a thing for superfoods, which I’m convinced make me healthier with each bite. This meal simply combines two of my faves — brussels sprouts and quinoa — into one protein-infused dinner. Throw a little balsamic vinegar on top and you’ll be in pure bliss.

7. Slow Cooker Banh Mi Rice

My usual Vietnamese takeout meal is packed with sugary sauces and sodium. Luckily, this option has all the same decadent flavors, but in a more slimmed down version. And the 15 minute cook time makes it appealing most nights of the week.

8. One Pan Cranberry Balsamic Roasted Chicken

Here’s some serious paleo-friendly food porn (is that even possible?) You better believe each bite of the juicy, roasted chicken covered in a cranberry-balsamic glaze will send your tastes buds into high gear. Plus, it gets even better shaved onto a warm gluten free roll for lunch the next day.

9. Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Good toppings make everything better and this recipe only proves my theory correct. With layers of shallots, goat cheese, garlic, and crispy breadcrumbs poured over these portobellos, you’ll hardly notice that you’re eating veggies for dinner in the first place.

10. Whole30 Chicken Marsala

When I did Whole30 earlier this year, I got stuck in a bit of a recipe rut. Luckily, this Chicken Marsala dish got me through. The savory sauce surrounding the cutlets was so crave-worthy, it made me feel like I was cheating on my plan all-together. Thanks to a recipe double-take, I quickly proved myself wrong.

11. Kale Soup with White Beans and Potatoes

It wouldn’t be a hearty food round-up without another soup recipe. The kale, beans, and potatoes seen here are the ultimate trio to cure any winter blues. To really heat things up, I’ll even add a splash of hot sauce to the mix.

12. Sweet Potato and Black Bean Nachos with Green Chile Salsa

Treat your taste buds to their guiltiest pleasure — nachos — without all the “bad stuff” involved. I bake my potatoes until they are nice and crispy, then layer in extra salsa on top. By the time I’m finished making this meal, I don’t even miss the real thing.

Top image via Halfbaked Harvest; all other images courtesy of linked sources.


Sarah Koller is a freelance writer and blogger. When she’s not taking a hot yoga class or seeking out the best brunch spots in town, you’ll find her rambling away on her website.