5 wholesome merchandise on your favourite meals

Sometimes when life knocks you down, all you can do is not go headfirst into a vat of mac and cheese, but when you are eating your emotions, you don't have to expand your waistline.

With some stealth ingredient swaps and some delicious cooking twists, you can have the best of both worlds when it comes to your favorite feel-good foods. Use these recipes in place of your usual vices and take comfort in the fact that you are doing your body good.

French toast muffins – just add a drop of the yogurt syrup mixture!

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French toast muffins

Practical time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Power: 4 servings

French toast – meet muffins. Muffins – meet French toast. Mixing up these iconic breakfast ingredients and swapping out a few less healthy ingredients makes these portioned muffins a new favorite.

Flip Out: White bread, butter, cream, a gallon of syrup

Flip In: Whole-grain sourdough bread, fresh berries, walnuts, yogurt

Nutritional upgrade

Sourdough contains more iron and selenium as well as B vitamins, which regulate the metabolism, while Greek yogurt gives the muffins that much-needed protein kick. Heart-healthy omega-3 fat walnuts and blueberries provide tons of antioxidants that help neutralize DNA-damaging free radicals while lowering blood pressure.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 4 large eggs
  • ½ cup of 2% milk or unsweetened alternative without dairy products
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6 cups sourdough bread, diced
  • ⅓ cup of chopped walnuts
  • ¾ cup of blueberries
  • 1½ cups of Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a small bowl, beat the eggs lightly and stir in the milk, vanilla and cinnamon. Add bread cubes to a large bowl and pour the egg mixture over it. Gently massage the liquid into the bread with your hands. Let rest for 5 minutes and then fold in walnuts and blueberries. Divide the mixture into 8 greased or paper-lined muffin bowls and press down slightly to compress. Bake for 20 minutes and then let cool for a few minutes before removing them from the pan. In a small bowl, combine the yogurt and maple syrup. Serve muffins with a pinch of yogurt and syrup mixture.

Nutritional information (per serving = 2 muffins): calories 338, fat 13 g, carbohydrates 35 g, fiber 5 g, sugar 13 g, protein 22 g, sodium 283 mg

Zucchini Noodles

Zucchini Noodles

Chicken Zoodle Soup

Practical time: 25 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Power: 4 servings

There's no better way to take the chill out of winter than by relaxing in a steaming bowl of chicken noodle soup. This adaptation of fried chicken, fresh zucchini noodles, and aromatic wine guarantees you'll never go back to the sloppy canned version.

Flip Out: Starchy pasta, excess salt, mild chicken

Flip In: Zucchini noodles, beans, fried chicken

Nutritional upgrade

Trading in refined pasta for zucchini reduces the carbohydrate content, making every spoon more diaphragm-friendly. The addition of beans pumps the soup full of high quality vegetable protein and appetite-suppressing fiber, and the chicken thighs add a flavor boost that white meat doesn't.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil, divided
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 medium-sized carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, diced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 chopped garlic cloves
  • 1½ teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon red chilli flakes
  • 1 cup of white wine
  • 1 (14 oz) canned white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 5 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • ⅓ cup of parsley

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400 F. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in an ovenproof pan on medium high. Add chicken and cook until browned down, then turn and brown other side. Place the pan in the oven and cook for 20 minutes or until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 165 ° F. In the meantime, put 1 tablespoon of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, celery, and salt and cook until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add Italian seasonings, black pepper, and chilli flakes and cook for another 30 seconds. Add white wine and cook for 3 minutes. Add beans and stock and bring to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes, then turn off the heat and stir in the chicken and lemon juice. Use a spiralizer or serrated vegetable peeler to cut zucchini into "noodles". Spread the zucchini noodles on serving bowls and ladle into the soup. Serve garnished with parsley.

Nutritional information (per serving): calories 395, fat 13 g, carbohydrates 31 g, fiber 8 g, sugar 5 g, protein 13 g, sodium 640 mg

You can also try spiraling other vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, and parsnips.

Grilled tuna caprese cheese

Grilled tuna caprese cheese

Grilled tuna caprese cheese

Practical time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 6 minutes

Power: 2 servings

This mash-up of two classic lunch favorites is a great adult way to make a Sammie – without having to worry about fat and calorie overload.

Flip Out: White bread, processed cheese, ketchup

Flip In: Sprouted bread, tuna, freshly made cheese, vegetables, pesto

Sprouting partially breaks down the starch in the bread grains, which means that the carbohydrate content is lower than in other types.

Nutritional upgrade

Sprouted bread outperforms doughy white bread because it contains more protein and fiber, and soft cheeses like fresh mozzarella contain more moisture, making them less caloric than hard types. The tuna adds a protein punch that makes this meal a more complete meal while also providing plenty of potassium, magnesium, and iron.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tbsp pesto prepared
  • 4 slices of wholemeal bread
  • 1 (5 oz) can of tuna
  • 2 ounces of fresh mozzarella, cut into thin rounds
  • 2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup of arugula
  • 2 large tomato slices

DIRECTIONS

Melt the butter and salt in a pan on medium heat. Spread half of the pesto on 2 slices of bread and top each with the same amount of tuna and cheese. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and top with rocket and a tomato slice. Spread the rest of the pesto over the rest of the bread and place the pesto side down on top. Place the sandwiches in the pan and heat them for about 3 minutes, until the bread on the bottom is golden yellow and crispy. Press the sandwiches down firmly with a spatula, then flip them and cook for another 3 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the bread on the bottom is crispy. Press again with the spatula and remove from the pan. Let cool for 1 minute, then cut in half and serve.

Nutritional information (per serving): calories 441, fat 22 g, carbohydrates 29 g, fiber 2 g, sugar 1 g, protein 30 g, sodium 668 mg

Turkey meatloaf

Turkey meatloaf

Turkey meatloaf

Practical time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 40 minutes

Power: 4 servings

If you want to reinvent the meatloaf, it tastes better than at home – deliciously moist and not at all "healthy". This version hits mom's meatloaf brand without burdening you digestive.

Flip Out: Fatty ground beef, breadcrumbs

Flip In: Lean turkey, oats, sweet potato

Nutritional upgrade

Using lean ground turkey reduces the fat calories in regular ground beef by around 50 percent – without compromising protein. Swapping out nutrient-poor breadcrumbs for whole oats increases the fiber content to lower cholesterol, and creeping in some sweet potatoes keeps the meatloaf tender while the meal is infused with some immune-boosting vitamin A.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 cup of yellow onion, diced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups of sweet potatoes, grated
  • 1 pound of lean ground turkey
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • ¾ cup of quick oats
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons of garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ⅓ cup of sugar-free barbecue sauce

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan. Heat the oil in a large pan on medium heat. Add onions and salt and cook for 5 minutes. Add sweet potatoes and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl with the turkey, eggs, oats, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, garlic powder, and pepper. Mix well and then distribute evenly in a loaf pan. Bake for 30 minutes, then apply barbecue sauce. Bake for another 10 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in the center reads 160 F. Let it cool in the pan for 5 minutes before slicing.

Nutritional information (per serving): calories 333, fat 8 g, carbohydrates 30 g, fiber 4 g, sugar 8 g, protein 33 g, sodium 439 mg

Chili Mac and Cheese

Practical time: 25 minutes

Cooking time: 25 minutes

Power: 6 servings

This mixture of two traditional comfort dishes complies with the nutritional rules without sacrificing a hearty taste.

BONUS: Everything is created in a single pan to streamline prep and clean up.

Flip Out: White noodles, milk, butter, regular ground beef

Flip In: Whole wheat pasta, lean ground beef, spinach, mushrooms

Research has shown that mushrooms improve immunity and prevent respiratory infections – the perfect antidote for flu season!

Nutritional upgrade

Mushrooms and bell peppers make for a healthy dose of selenium and vitamin D, and using lean ground beef removes saturated fat. Diced tomatoes fill the dish with cancer-preventing lycopene, while kidney beans add a dash of belly fiber as well as vitamin B1 for healthy exercise.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • ¾ lb 95% lean ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 2 cups of chopped cremini or mushrooms
  • 3 cloves of chopped garlic
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 (540 ml) can cut fire-fried tomatoes into cubes
  • 1 cup low-sodium beef or vegetable stock
  • 1½ cups of whole grain macaroni
  • 1 (14 oz) can of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups of spinach
  • 1½ cups shredded hot cheddar cheese

DIRECTIONS

Heat the oil in a large saucepan or pan over medium heat. Add beef and brown and break meat into 1-inch pieces while it cooks, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside. Add onions and salt to toss and cook until onions are tender and begin to darken, about 5 minutes. Add paprika, mushrooms and garlic and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, oregano and black pepper and cook for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, broth, and macaroni and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is al dente, about 12 minutes. Add beef and kidney beans and cook for 3 minutes. Add spinach and stir until wilted. Distribute on serving bowls and cover each with ¼ cup of cheese.

Nutritional information (per serving): calories 413, fat 16 g, carbohydrates 41 g, fiber 8 g, sugar 7 g, protein 29 g, sodium 747 g

happy end

If nothing less than decadence is enough, turn your frown upside down with one of these store-bought goodies.

FlapJacked Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar

Made from whole grain oats, date paste, probiotics, and whey protein, these soft-baked cookies are a guilt-free way to satisfy your cravings while also supporting gut health and muscle growth.

flapjacked.com or amazon.com, $ 25 (12-pack)

Aged Eco Superdark Chocolate Truffle

These one-bite gemstones are rich and luscious, with less sugar and more dark organic chocolate per serving for a delicious antioxidant punch.

alterecofoods.com or amazon.com, $ 8

Basic culture almond butter paleo brownie

These grain-free and gluten-free brownies have a deep cocoa taste and a creamy finish thanks to healthy nut butters.

baseculture.com or amazon.com, $ 35 (30 pack)

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