Karen Steffens

Two ways to turn comfort food into health food

Amy Traverso,  –  January 4, 2006

Salmon Burritos with Chile-Roasted Vegetables

Making smart food choices doesn’t have to mean doing away with your favorites. Dishes like burritos and pizza are incredibly adaptable, able to accommodate healthy tweaks without losing their appeal. We gave these everyday staples a makeover by adding heart-friendly ingredients with big flavors and great texture.

Friday night pizza
Pizza as health food? It’s possible if you get the toppings right. Lose the high-fat cheeses and pepperoni and substitute heart-friendly flavor from tomatoes, olive oil, and basil.

Whole-grain goodness
Add whole-wheat flour to your pizza dough: It’s a great source of insoluble fiber, and you’ll hardly notice the difference in flavor. You can purchase ready-made whole-wheat pizza dough at Trader Joe’s and gourmet markets, or make your own by substituting equal parts bread flour and whole-wheat flour for the all-purpose flour in your favorite recipe.


Dose of tomatoes
According to a recent study at the Harvard School of Public Health, just one serving per day of tomato-based foods could lower women’s risk of heart disease by as much as 30 percent. How? The lycopene present in cooked tomatoes has been shown to reduce arterial aging (it also cuts the risk of prostate cancer in men). Make a simple, fresh topping by sautéing sliced cherry or grape tomatoes with garlic and a little olive oil. Top with fresh basil.

Grate on flavor
Cut down on saturated fat by topping your pizza with freshly grated parmesan cheese. It has more flavor than mozzarella, so you can get away with using less. Soft goat cheese (chèvre) is another good choice: It has about 4 to 5 fat grams per ounce, about the same as part-skim mozzarella.

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