11 Lightened-Up Comfort Foods For Your Post-Holiday Diet Overhaul

The holidays have come and gone. The presents have been wrapped, unwrapped, and many of them returned. The cookies have been nibbled, the cocktails sipped, the chestnuts roasted. And what do you have to show for it besides a wardrobe that no longer fits? The first rule of December is: Eat as much food as you can. Which means that, to follow, the first rule of January is: Clean it up. Here we’ve been careful not to send your post-holiday system into complete shock with cheese-less salads and raw carrot sticks. Let’s ease our way into things — with beef enchiladas and with chili and with burrito bowls. Shall we? Keep reading for 11 healthy updates to your favorite comfort foods.

Image: How Sweet It Is

Lightened-Up Beef Enchiladas with 10 Minute Enchilada Sauce

Not quite ready to part with your dear friend, Cheese? We totally don’t blame you. Make these lightened-up beef enchiladas for dinner tonight and defeat all diet-food naysayers. (via How Sweet It Is)

Image: How Sweet It Is

Vegan Sweet Potato Alfredo

Fettucinne Alfredo is the ultimate comfort food. This lighter version offers the best of both worlds. Please your cravings and your waistline by serving this sweet potato and cashew cream sauce over a plate of healthy brown rice pasta. (via Love and Lemons)

Image: Love and Lemons

Healthier One Pot Cincinnati Chili

This ground turkey-based chili gets all its oomph from its vibrant use of spices and flavors, including chipotle chilis, smoked paprika, and, yes, even a big punch of cocoa powder. Eating healthy is the easiest. (via Half Baked Harvest)

Image: Half Baked Harvest

Kale, Black Bean, and Avocado Burrito Bowl

Sometimes you just need to have a burrito. But just in case you also need to, like — oh, I don’t know — fit into your clothes, we’ve hooked you up with this lightened-up version. (via Cookie + Kate)

Image: Cookie + Kate

Healthier General Tsos Chicken

Somebody has gone and cracked the Chinese food take-out code! Reap the benefits with this healthier take on General Tso's Chicken. Maniacal laugh. (via Half Baked Harvest)

Image: Half Baked Harvest

Kabocha Squash and Lentil Curry

A properly-done curry can sometimes be a little heavy. But this kabocha squash and lentil variety is bright and light, while still maintaining the heartiness and warmth that curry is known for. (via Healthful Pursuit)

Image: Healthful Pursuit

Grilled Beet Burgers

We know. No veggie alternative will ever replace a juicy bacon cheeseburger. But these beet burgers are so pretty in pink we thought you might be willing to give them a shot. (via Green Kitchen Stories)

Image: Green Kitchen Stories

Lightened-Up Sundried Tomato Basil Pesto Pasta

Pesto is a great winter ingredient because, no matter what kind of doom and gloom the outdoors have in store for you, it insists on being bright and sunny. We like the sundried tomatoes in this vegan version. (via Oh She Glows)

Image: Angela Liddon

Paleo Paella — with Cauliflower Rice!

Keep up your healthy Paleo habits with this grain-free paella hack. Just sub out the rice in the traditional dish for this (genius-level) cauliflower rice, and you’ll be about a bite away from paella paradise. (via The Healthy Foodie)

Image: The Healthy Foodie

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

This recipe touches on so many things that we find comforting — including soup, tacos, and CHEESE. It’s also jam-packed with protein-rich beans and plenty of healthful veggies. I believe this is what they call a win-win. (via Cookie + Kate)

Image: Cookie + Kate

Lighter Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Butternut squash puree fortifies the rich and creamy texture of this lightened-up bowl of cheesy goodness. ‘Round these parts, we’re mac and cheese purists, but we’re thinking of making an exception here. (via How Sweet It Is)

Image: How Sweet It Is