Chef Caitlin’s Corner: Lighten Up Winter Comfort Food Favorites!

waffles-and-strawberriesThe brutal snow and cold has kept a lot of people indoors and home from school and work this winter. Comfort food can taste so good on a cold day, but comfort foods may not the best for your overall health. Many comfort foods are high in calories and fat, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have some of your favorite foods on a snow day! Here are four tips that can help you when preparing comfort foods.

  1. Watch those portions: If you’re going to eat something that isn’t super healthy, make sure you serve yourself a healthy portion size. Try using smaller bowls, plates, and cups to cut down on over-serving yourself. Use small utensils such as teaspoons and salad forks to slow down how fast you eat.
  2. Add fruits and veggies: Mac & cheese and mashed potatoes? No problem! Try adding some spinach to your mac & cheese to boost the nutrients in every bite. Mix some of your mashed potatoes with cauliflower to increase your veggie servings. Make fruit crisps for a healthy and yummy dessert.
  3. Swap out full fat items for reduced or fat-free: This is especially true when it comes to dairy items that are high in saturated fat. Try swapping out sour cream or cream cheese in a recipe with low fat plain Greek yogurt. Avoid full fat cheese, and grab the reduced-fat instead. As a teen, dairy foods are a great option since you need calcium for your growing bones, but make sure they are low-fat or fat-free.
  4. Get some exercise: It’s a lot harder to make physical activity part of your day during the winter, but it’s still important. Don’t forget – shoveling counts as exercise! Make sure to squeeze in a walk or jog when the weather’s on the warmer side. If you’re stuck indoors, try a workout video or video games that require you to move around. There are tons of workout videos you can watch for free on YouTube, so find some favorites and bookmark them for your next snow day.

Here is one of my go-to treats during the winter. It’s a crisp that’s packed with fruit and whole grains. Top it off with your favorite vanilla yogurt to add extra calcium.

Apple Blueberry Crisp – 6-8 Servings


  • 3 medium Granny Smith Apples, peeled and cored
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Spray an 8×8 pan with non-stick cooking spray
  3. Slice apples and place in pan
  4. Cover with rest of ingredients and mix to evenly distribute berries and sugar
  5. Sprinkle crisp topping over fruit and bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown, serve warm

Crisp Topping


  • 1/3 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 2/3 cup quick oats
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

-Chef Caitlin