Winter Weight GainAs the cold heads in for the season, so do cravings for high fat, salty comfort foods. While this feels good for the moment, clothes won’t feel good later on. Though exercise is certainly one of the most important ways to keep weight off, choosing the rights foods is also half the battle. Consider the following alternatives to heavy, fat-laden comfort foods.

Instead of green bean casserole…try making roasted green beans. Since 75% of the classic casserole’s calories come from fat, instead toss fresh green beans with a light coat of olive oil and minced garlic. Top with a little salt and pepper and bake until tender.

Instead of a bagel with cream cheese…try having the crunch and carbohydrates of fresh apple slices topped with the saltiness and protein of peanut butter. Try to avoid high sugar butters, however.

Instead of regular high fat hot chocolate…try making hot chocolate at home without milk. Use creamy coconut milk instead. While heating the coconut milk, add in raw sugar, Dutch cocoa powder, and for an added kick add in some spices. Try a little cinnamon or a sprinkle of chili powder for an Aztec cocoa.

Instead of full-serve nachos…try making homemade tortilla chips and salsa. Take organic corn tortillas and slice as though cutting a cake. Coat lightly in olive oil with a little salt, and then bake until crisp, flipping at least once. Meanwhile, chop up fresh onion, garlic, jalapenos, tomatoes, and green pepper. Mix together well and let chill in the refrigerator. Serve fresh chips with the salsa. For added creaminess and protein, add a dollop of low-fat plain Greek yogurt. For some added healthy fats, add a dollop of fresh guacamole.

Instead of ice cream…try low-fat and low-sugar Greek frozen yogurt or fresh fruit sorbets. While avoiding ice cream means avoiding fat-dense and calorie-dense desserts, be cautious choosing frozen yogurt or sorbets as many contain more sugar than should be consumed in a week. Sugar, especially processed sugar, can also help add on the pounds. To make homemade sorbet, simply freeze berries and bananas. Once frozen, blend together in the blender or food processor, adding just a touch of raw sugar or apple juice for sweetening. For a touch of creaminess, add a spoonful of low-fat Greek yogurt during the blending process.

Instead of regular potato chips….make baked potato chips. Many baked potato chips add sugar in their processing, so if purchasing in the store, read the ingredients carefully. To make at home, thinly slice potatoes, soak in water, pat dry and coat in olive oil and sea salt. Bake at 400 degrees, flipping regularly.