Come in from the Cold for Cancer Fighting Comfort Foods

By Posted on
Turkey Potpie with Cornbread Crust

Whether because of shorter days or cold temperatures, I am craving warm, soothing and filling foods these days. These comfort foods are often high calorie with lots of added fat – okay for an occasional treat – but winter weather can last awhile so it’s easy to overdo and end up with a few extra pounds when spring finally arrives.

Fortunately, here at AICR we have plenty of recipes based on traditional comfort foods, but they’ve gone through a healthy makeover. As for all AICR dishes, they meet our recipe guidelines and they’ve had to pass the taste test, so you don’t have to sacrifice flavor for a healthy, cancer-preventive dish.

I asked around and these are some of our staff’s favorite healthy makeover comfort foods. I’ve compared the nutrition facts to those of a typical recipe or a prepared, purchased dish.

Turkey Potpie with Cornbread Crust: This is a great recipe that with fewer calories and less fat combines the creamy goodness of the potpie filling with another comfort food – cornbread. The recipe is gluten-free for those unable to include gluten in their diet.

Compared to a serving of a prepared frozen potpie (from the USDA database), you’ll save over 300 calories, 28 grams of fat and 800 mg of sodium.

Macaroni and Cheese: Here you get two benefits: up the vegetables in your diet and maintain the smooth, creamy texture with lower calories, bite for bite.

Compared to a serving of prepared frozen mac and cheese (from the USDA database), you save 120 calories, 8 g fat and  300 mg of sodium.

Italian Toasted Cheese Sandwich: Another recipe that adds vegetables but still preserves the basic grilled cheese flavor and texture.

Per sandwich (from an online classic recipe), you’ll save about 200 calories, 20 g fat and 300 mg sodium.


What are your favorite winter comfort foods? Share how you make them healthier.


Author: Alice RD

Alice G. Bender, MS, RDN, is the Director of Nutrition Programs at AICR. She helps put the science of cancer prevention into action by providing tips and tools to choose nutritious and delicious foods. Alice has guided thousands of individuals to healthier lives through diet changes and choices.

One thought on “Come in from the Cold for Cancer Fighting Comfort Foods”

  1. My neighbor just learned he has throat cancer but doesn’t want anyone to know… including me.

    What delicious looking food. Maybe it will help or at least make him happy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *