As the temperatures drop and cozy sweaters make their first appearances, our tables seem to bear the brunt of the chilly weather. We can’t help but make heavier meals to compensate for our loss of body heat, but it’s definitely not good for our waistlines (or our health!). That’s why we’ve put together this list of tasty, kid-friendly comfort food that won’t leave you feeling 10 pounds heavier afterward.

Southwest Black Bean Casserole
At first glance, you’d never guess this casserole was veggie-based and diet-friendly. This recipe comes from Pinch of Yum –it’s packed with flavor without excess fat. We recommend nixing the jalapeños if your little ones don’t like spicy food. Click here for the recipe.

Turkey Meatballs with Spinach Sauce over Pasta
Spaghetti and meatballs can be like a pretty indulgent meal, but make a few tweaks and you’ll save yourself many unnecessary calories. These meatballs from Natural Noshing are made with finely chopped mushrooms and parmesan instead of breadcrumbs, and spinach sauce gives some added iron for Popeye-strong kids.

Mini Turkey Meatloaves
Not only are these mini turkey meatloaves from Sweet Potato Chronicles healthy, but they also freeze super well, making them a great choice for a make-ahead weeknight meal. Plus, they use another unexpected twist on breadcrumbs as a binding agent: rolled oats!

“Fettuccine” Alfredo
Who knew fettuccine Alfredo could be healthy? In this recipe from Ari’s Menu, spaghetti squash becomes noodles and Alfredo sauce is a light mixture of reduced fat cream cheese, almond milk, and parmesan cheese.

Baked Chicken Nuggets
There’s no need to feel guilty when you feed the kids these little nuggets–they’re baked but just as tasty as McNuggets, with an easy coating of Italian breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese. Head over to Skinny Taste for the recipe.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries
Make it a meal with these salty-sweet fries from Cookie + Kate. Sweet potatoes pack a nutritional punch with tons of vitamin A, and the kids won’t bat their eyes at polishing off a plate of the healthy stuff.

Chicken Chili
We love the idea of subbing lean ground chicken for the usual ground beef in chili. Along with tons of veggies, this chili from The Healthy Foodie is hearty and tasty enough to keep the whole family satisfied.


Chicken Stroganoff
A great (and healthy) stroganoff starts off with great ingredients, from skinless chicken breasts to fresh mushrooms and herbs. This recipe from The Candid Appetite is perfect for a dinner party or a special weekend dinner, and the kid-approved creamy sauce won’t derail your diet.

Shepherd’s Pie
This lightened-up recipe comes from Iowa Girl Eats, using a mixture of cauliflower and potatoes as its low-carb, high-flavor base. Swap the ground beef for leaner turkey to save some extra calories.

Skinny Sloppy Joes
Kids will find it hard to resist veggies when they’re hidden in a yummy meat sauce. Plus, sloppy Joes are a perennial family favorite–make this for your next weeknight dinner!

What are your choice comfort food recipes? Share your picks with us below. 

— Susie Foresman