If you’ve ever turned to food during stressful or tense times, you’re not alone.
As a society, we tend to seek out high-calorie foods when we’re stressed or in need of a little TLC. According to the American Psychological Association, 40% of adults in America admit to overeating unhealthy foods in the past month because of stress or anxiety.
When stress, seasonal blues or sadness has you seeking comfort from the kitchen, what is it that you reach for?
In this article, we’re exploring the psychology behind comfort food cravings, and we’re sharing some of our favorite grain-free comfort food alternatives, too!
What does Comfort Food Mean?
What is comfort food anyway? A quick Google search turns up this answer:
“Food that provides consolation, or a feeling of well-being, typically any with a high sugar or other carbohydrate content and associated with childhood or home cooking.”
The relationship that people have with food can be complicated, and tackling unhealthy eating habits can be easier said than done. We’re here to help. Keep reading to learn about the psychology behind the idea of comfort food, and learn about some popular foods that you can make with alternative ingredients.
The Psychology Behind Comfort Food
Ranker recently did a study on the comfort foods that are the most beloved by Americas, and the top items come as no surprise: pizza, french fries, macaroni and cheese, chicken noodle soup… you get the picture.
Why is it that these quintessential comfort foods are so, well… comforting?
A 2015 study found that there is actually a social component to the foods that “give us comfort”; a food is comforting because of the memories they evoke, and the emotions or relationships that we associate with them. So, if your mom made you homemade oatmeal cookies when you were a kid, that might be why you make a pit-stop at the bakery on your way home from a stressful day.
And while there’s no requirement that our chosen comfort foods be indulgent or unhealthy, studies reveal that our go-to’s often are. We believe that fulfilling your cravings and sticking to your wellness goals don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
Below, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite comfort foods to keep on hand for when you need a bite that will soothe the soul.
Grain-free Comfort Food Recipes
With a wide variety of meat alternatives, deceptively creamy vegan cheeses, and the creativity of some amazing chefs, grain-free comfort food can be every bit as satisfying as traditional comfort food offerings. We can prove it!
Whether you’re craving a gooey grilled cheese or a piping hot plate of spaghetti and meatballs, the grain-free comfort food recipes below will truly deliver all the satisfaction that you’re looking for, without any of the guilt.
What kind of “comfort food list” would this be without starting off with a grain-free grilled cheese?
Nothing can make you feel quite as good as a melty grilled cheese can. If you’re on a grain-free diet, instead of depriving yourself of this simple pleasure, make this recipe instead!
Since no grilled cheese should ever be eaten without a flavorful soup, pair your grilled cheese with a warm cup of our creamy tomato soup. Consider yourself comforted.
View this post on Instagram
nothing goes together better than grilled cheese and tomato soup and..A GIVEAWAY! i teamed up with my friends over @power_provisions to offer one lucky winner 2 of each bone broth soup cup flavors! you guys know i love Power Provisions because they are quick and easy, taste amazing, and pack in 18-20g of protein per cup #powerprovisions #ad can't wait for one of you to win yourself some delicious soups! here's how to enter: 1. follow @power_provisions and @sweatysweetpotato 2. tag a friend in the comments below that's it! @power_provisions will announce a winner on Thursday at 11:59pm PST! good luck! open to US only
Spaghetti & Meatballs
There’s no reason to miss out on a piping hot plate of spaghetti and meatballs if you’re going grain-free! With gluten-free pasta and our delicious paleo meatballs, this recipe will fool even the most picky palate.
Sweet Potato Nachos
November 6th is National Nachos Day, and what better way to celebrate than by making them grain-free comfort food style? Our friend Heather, from My Life Well Loved, created these fabulous nachos with sweet potato chips, guacamole and a pinch of jalapenos.
The great thing about this (traditionally junk-food) appetizer is that you can customize it however you’d like to be in alignment with your dietary preferences. No cheese? No problem! Cozy up with a tray of these colorful nachos if you’re feeling down- and for an extra treat, pair this crunchy comfort food with a warm bowl of chicken vegetable bone broth soup. You can thank us later…
View this post on Instagram
I love watching my boys excitement over new books! 📚 I also love that it sometimes distracts them for 2.5 hot seconds for me to gobble down a quick lunch. 🤪 Sometimes the struggle is real not to just eat the goldfish and random half eaten peanut butter sandwiches 🥪 amidst keeping up with these two lovable crazies! 😂😂 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Just as they get excited about new books, mama gets excited geeking out over finding healthy & easy meals for meal planning! 🍽@power_provisions has filled the bill lately offering me awesome #paleo & #keto options on #lowcarb days. 🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼 What did you eat for lunch today? 🍜 #ad #mylifewellloved ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Shop your screenshot of this pic with the LIKEtoKNOW.it shopping app // Amaryllis Apparel Top – fits TTS wearing size small // Cabana Life Shorts – fit TTS wearing size small //#liketkit @liketoknow.it http://liketk.it/2SM4g #LTKkids #LTKstyletip #ltkunder50
Grain Free Pizza Crust
Who hasn’t craved a slice of greasy pizza at least once in their life, especially when they’re feeling blue? Pizza is about as comforting as comfort food gets.
Kaylin, from The Hungry Happy Mama knows all too well about the healing properties of pizza, and set out to craft the perfect crust- grain-free of course! Get the recipe for her gluten-free pizza crust here.
Bone Broth Chicken Noodle Soup
There’s just something about a steaming bowl of Chicken Noodle Soup that’s SO comforting. But oftentimes, traditional chicken noodle soup recipes are loaded with lots of grains and lots of sodium.
When you make homemade chicken noodle soup, you can skip out on the grains and load up on the ingredients that you really love. Switch out the noodles for spiralized zucchini and boom- your chicken noodle soup is keto, paleo and Whole30 friendly.
Watch how @ketosnackz makes his noodle-less chicken-and-noodles with our chicken vegetable bone broth. Grain free comfort food that’s paleo and keto friend, and prepared in under 10 minutes? We’ll take it!
View this post on Instagram
Say “YES” if you would eat this chicken noodle soup 😋 #ad . . This 5g net carb @power_provisions Chicken Vegetable Bone Broth Soup is amazing! And as someone who hates spending a ton of time cooking I love the convenience too 🙌 . . If you’re interested in trying them, they are sold in all U.S. Whole Foods!! You can also use the link in my bio with code: KETOSNACKZ for a discount on yours! . . #keto #lowcarb #ketodiet #ketosis #ketosoup #powerprovisions
Bone broth is rich in collagen and protein, and is also very, very delicious! You can also use our bone broth in a wide variety of recipes, to better fit your lifestyle and dietary preferences. Bone broth is a staple for the paleo and keto diets, so we wanted to make a soup cup that you could take with you on-the-go and enjoy anywhere, anytime!
Say goodbye to tough, restricting meal plans and hello to a better way of approaching the grain free lifestyle. Comfort food doesn’t have to come at a cost.
Try some of these alternative comfort food recipes above, and let us know how they turned out!