The perfect comfort food can warm you up on a cold winter day, bring you back to the nostalgia of your favorite childhood dishes, and provide you with a moment of happiness while you eat. Think mac and cheese, spaghetti and meatballs, chili, creamy soup, casseroles, and a grilled cheese and tomato soup combo. Comfort foods are usually high in calories, fat, and sodium—and let's be honest, it's one of the things that makes them so comforting. But if you're looking for more nutritious versions of your favorite comfort dishes because you're trying to lose weight or pursue a similar health goal, you're in luck, because we've rounded up some healthier comfort food dishes to eat for weight loss.
Multiple factors can help make a good "weight loss meal." For starters, something higher in protein can help you feel more satiated and can help boost your metabolism. Including fiber in your meal can also help you feel more satiated while helping to improve digestive health as well. Lastly, cutting some of the calories in your dish can help you with your weight loss goals, as long as you are still getting enough of the calories your body needs throughout the day and aren't restricting too much.
With these factors in mind, we've rounded up 45 cozy comfort foods you can warm up to this winter while you're pursuing a goal of losing weight. Read on, then check out the 15 Best Fruits & Vegetables for Weight Loss.
Spicy Macaroni and Cheese
When we hear comfort food, we think of mac and cheese. So naturally, we had to make a few healthy versions of it! You can make it spicy with canned jalapeños or skip for a mild option.
Get our recipe for Spicy Macaroni and Cheese.
Chicken Pot Pie
This healthier version of chicken pot pie is the perfect dinner for a crowd on a chilly January night. With only 350 calories per serving, you can cozy up to a light but comforting meal.
Get our recipe for Chicken Pot Pie.
Waffles with Ham and Egg
For a clever weekend brunch, this open-faced waffle sandwich is flavorful and includes all of those macronutrients you need to stay full for hours. And it's on top of a waffle—the perfect comfort combination.
Get our recipe for Waffles with Ham and Egg.
Best Spaghetti Recipe
This classic bowl of spaghetti is full of flavor and only 5 grams of fat, meaning you can enjoy this comfort food dish while sticking to your health goals.
Get our recipe for Spaghetti.
Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup
If you're not dipping your grilled cheese into a piping-hot cup of tomato soup, you're doing it wrong! Nothing is more comforting than a grilled cheese and tomato soup combo, and this particular recipe happens to be lower in calories than most.
Get our recipe for Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup.
Instant Pot Chicken and Rice Soup
This Instant Pot Chicken and Rice Soup is another healthy, comforting soup you can prep for the week, or even make for dinner to share with a crowd.
Get our recipe for Instant Pot Chicken and Rice Soup.
Chicken and Dumplings
Pick your favorite winter movie and cozy up on the couch with a bowl of our healthy chicken and dumplings! With fewer calories and less fat and sodium than most versions of chicken and dumplings, this recipe is a great choice.
Get our recipe for Chicken and Dumplings.
Whether it's for a potluck, for the family, or even prepping it for yourself, you can't ever go wrong with a pan of this baked ziti.
Get our recipe for Baked Ziti.
Copycat Wendy's Chili
Skip the trip to Wendy's and make their famous soup thanks to our copycat version! Full of beans, ground beef, and flavor from garlic, onions, and tomatoes, this recipe is a high-protein, high-fiber bowl of comfort.
Get our recipe for Copycat Wendy's Chili.
Rotisserie Chicken Parm Casserole
Use up leftover rotisserie chicken (or even leftover chicken from one you roasted on the weekend) with this easy chicken parm casserole recipe!
Get our recipe for Rotisserie Chicken Parm Casserole.
Copycat Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup
This creamy copycat Panera broccoli cheddar soup slashes the calories so you can easily enjoy a bowl and experience weight loss this season. Want to indulge more? Pick up a bread boule at the store to make this into a bread bowl.
Get our recipe for Copycat Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup.
Healthy Green Bean Casserole
Anytime something has the word "casserole" in it, you can guarantee it will be comforting and cozy. A green bean casserole is the definition of comfort food, and this recipe is a healthier version than what you're used to.
Get our recipe for Green Bean Casserole.
Not-So-Unhealthy Cheese Fries
Hot French fries covered in melted cheese, bacon, and jalapeños are the perfect dish to indulge in on a cold night in, and with this lighter version, you can save on some calories and fat.
Get our recipe for Healthier Cheese Fries.
Crock Pot Beef Ragu
Making beef ragu on a chilly winter night just got a light easier thanks to this simple slow cooker recipe!
Get our recipe for Crock Pot Beef Ragu.
Turkey Sloppy Joes
Sometimes the best comfort foods are the most nostalgic ones, like a simple and tasty sloppy joe. These sloppy joes are made with turkey so you can save on saturated fat while still boosting your protein.
Get our recipe for Sloppy Joes.
Banana pancakes with maple syrup bring coziness to any winter morning. Made with whole wheat flour, Greek yogurt, and ricotta, things pancakes are light and fluffy while being low in calories.
Get our recipe for Banana Pancakes.
L0w-Calorie Meatballs and Polenta
Using turkey and sirloin instead of veal and pork, these meatballs are lower in saturated fat, high in protein, and still packed with flavor. Using polenta instead of pasta helps cut down some of the calories while maintaining all of the comfort.
Get our recipe for Meatballs and Polenta.
French Onion Soup
French onion soup is a comfort food normally loaded with fat and calories, but this recipe is a lighter version you can enjoy when you are trying to stick to certain health goals this winter.
Get our recipe for French Onion Soup.
Oven-Baked Chicken Fingers
Chicken fingers are the perfect comfort food, but you can ditch the deep-fried kind and try these tasty, oven-baked, gluten-free chicken fingers that still fully satisfy your cravings.
Get our recipe for Oven-Baked Chicken Fingers.
Oatmeal Pancakes with Cinnamon Apples
These warm oatmeal apple pancakes are the perfect weekend breakfast on a chilly fall or winter morning!
Get our recipe for Oatmeal Pancakes with Cinnamon Apples.
Apple Pie with Crunch Topping
You can't miss baking a homemade apple pie during the winter—it's essential! This recipe is healthier than most other apple recipes, which is an extra treat.
Get our recipe for Apple Pie with Crunch Topping.
This cozy chili recipe easily uses up a can of pumpkin you have in your pantry. Made with pumpkin, beans, beef, and veggies, you'll get plenty of fiber, protein, and cozy flavors.
Get our recipe for Pumpkin Chili.
Chicken Sausage Lasagna
Give us all the pasta dishes! Cozy up with a slice of this chicken sausage lasagna, packed with all of the flavors you love but not packed with all the calories.
Get our recipe for Chicken Sausage Lasagna.
Crock-Pot Chicken Noodle Soup
Nothing says "cozy" more than a bowl of chicken noodle soup and crusty bread! Try this easy recipe at home during the coldest winter nights.
Get our recipe for Crock-Pot Chicken Noodle Soup.
Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana
Meal prep a large pot of this creamy, spicy soup to easily microwave for lunches all week long.
Get our recipe for Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana.
Copycat Pasta Fagioli Soup: Olive Garden's Recipe
This hearty pasta fagioli has all of those delicious flavors you love in the original Olive Garden soup!
Get our recipe for Copycat Pasta Fagioli Soup: Olive Garden's Recipe.
Carbonara is the ultimate comfort food, and adding more vegetables into your pasta dishes is an easy way to add in more fiber and slash the calories, while still getting all of those cozy pasta dinner vibes.
Get our recipe for Zucchini Carbonara.
Green Chile Pork Soup
Get the slow cooker ready for all of the cozy recipes, like this green chile pork soup! Packed to the brim with protein, fiber, and flavor, this soup is everything your body craves on a chilly day.
Get our recipe for Green Chile Pork Soup.
Cuban Tomato and Black Bean Soup
Have a craving for black bean soup? Our version kicks it up a notch with some added protein and fiber.
Get our recipe for Cuban Tomato and Black Bean Soup.
Classic Beef Stew
A hearty beef stew is the definition of quintessential cozy, especially when the weather is chilly!
Get our recipe for Classic Beef Stew.
Low-Calorie Southern-Style Biscuits
Warm, flaky biscuits are a comfort food for many, but they can be loaded with tons of fat and calories. Cut those down with this recipe, which makes lighter biscuits that don't skimp on flavor or buttery texture.
Get our recipe for Southern-Style Biscuits.
Curry with Cauliflower and Butternut Squash
Sweet and savory is the game with this cauliflower and butternut squash curry—the perfect warm meal to enjoy on the couch.
Get our recipe for Curry with Cauliflower and Butternut Squash.
Pumpkin Pad Thai
Pumpkin can be savory, too! This pad thai is full of lean chicken, veggies, peanuts, and warm saucy noodles.
Get our recipe for Pumpkin Pad Thai.
Slow-Cooked Turkey Cassoulet
Throw together this easy slow-cooker meal using turkey, chicken sausage, and beans.
Get our recipe for Slow-Cooked Turkey Cassoulet.
Slow Cooker Beef Goulash
Cozy meals and slow cookers go hand-in-hand, especially with this deliciously cheesy beef goulash recipe!
Get our recipe for Slow Cooker Beef Goulash.
Pumpkin Bread Pudding
Bread pudding is a classic comfort dessert perfect for fall and winter, and this pumpkin spin brings the coziness up even more.
Get our recipe for Pumpkin Bread Pudding.
Creamy Instant Pot Cauliflower "Mac" and Cheese
Skip out on the extra carbs and enjoy this low-carb version of "mac" and cheese using mini bits of cooked cauliflower!
Get our recipe for Creamy Instant Pot Cauliflower "Mac" and Cheese.
Turkey Bolognese with Garlic Spaghetti Squash
This turkey bolognese got even leaner thanks to this garlicky roasted spaghetti squash!
Get our recipe for Turkey Bolognese with Garlic Spaghetti Squash.
Craving Chinese takeout for a family movie night? Our version of orange chicken slashes the calories and ups the fiber, both important aspects for a healthy weight loss meal plan.
Get our recipe for Orange Chicken.
Roast Pork Loin Porchetta-Style with Lemony White Beans
This roasted pork loin is a perfect cozy weekend meal with very minimal effort to make! Pairing it with lemony white beans and greens makes the perfect balanced meal.
Get our recipe for Roast Pork Loin Porchetta-Style with Lemony White Beans.
Chicken Ramen with Shiitake Mushrooms and Spinach
Skip the noodles again for zoodles with this cozy bowl of chicken ramen with spinach and shiitake mushrooms!
Get our recipe for Chicken Ramen with Shiitake Mushrooms and Spinach.
BBQ Pork Shepherd's Pie with Sweet Potato Topping
This is a healthier twist on the usual shepherd's pie you're used to with sweet potatoes and pork, and it's not only cozy but extremely easy to throw together.
Get our recipe for BBQ Pork Shepherd's Pie with Sweet Potato Topping.
Stuffed on the inside, and breaded on the outside, this recipe takes your usual weeknight chicken meal up a notch with cozy vegetables and cheese!
Get our recipe for Stuffed Chicken.
Creamy Mushroom Chicken
Creamy, saucy chicken with mushrooms sounds like the perfect comforting meal, and this recipe is low in calories and high in protein to help with your January health goals.
Get our recipe for Creamy Mushroom Chicken.
Turkey Meat Loaf with Spicy Tomato Glaze
Meatloaf is another quintessential cozy meal for the winter, especially if it's served with our green bean casserole or mac and cheese.
Get our recipe for Turkey Meat Loaf with Spicy Tomato Glaze.
This story has been updated since its original publish date with new copy and additional entries.