If you your family is anything like mine, winter comfort foods are a staple to help you all get through this long, chilly season. Nothing says comfort more than a warm bowl of soup or a cheesy pasta entrée.

This year I wanted to mix things up a little from the traditional cream soups and rich mashed potatoes. On my search for new family friendly, healthy comfort food recipes, I became inspired with ones I found on the Canola Eat Well website. I am excited to share some of my favourite picks with you!

Homemade mac and cheese – made healthy!

Noting says winter comfort better than homemade mac and cheese!

Macaroni and Cheese is a winter pasta recipe classic and literally defines the term “winter comfort food” however, traditional recipes tend to be high in fat and low in fibre.

With this Polka Dot Mac and Cheese recipe you can feel good about feeding it to your family. This recipe has even been approved by Heart and Stroke. It is made with whole-wheat pasta, lower-fat cheese, skim milk, and all kinds of vegetables. It is sure to become a favourite! The recipe calls for canola oil in making the roux instead of butter – a healthy ingredient swap!

Baked chicken fingers with yogurt honey dill sauce

Feel guilty for serving fried chicken to your family? Try this baked Chicken Fingers with Honey Dill Sauce recipe instead. Save calories and cut unhealthy fat by making your own crispy (like fried) healthy, protein-rich, baked chicken fingers instead of fried. Simply dips chicken breast strips in whisked egg whites and seasoned panko crumbs, pan fry in canola oil and finish off baking them in the oven. Tasty and healthy! For a quick meal serve with veggie sticks and honey yogurt dill dip.

Mashed root vegetables – instead of “run of the mill” mashed potatoes!

Mashed potatoes are often a favourite winter side to any meal. Instead of making mashed potatoes the traditional way, remake this favourite side dish nutrient dense by using a variety of mashed root vegetables this Mashed Roots recipe. Carrots and parsnips are mashed along with your potatoes. The more colourful your diet is the healthier it is (and the tastier too!)

Classic minestrone soup

Homemade soup can be a real comfort on a cold day!

Swap heavy cream soup for this hearty Minestrone Soup recipe. Just as satiating, but a nutritional step-up! More fibre, plant protein and nutrient rich veggies. Soups provide a nutritional bonus, because you eat the broth the veggies are cooked in. Soups also freeze well for a quick meal on a cold, but activity packed day or evening. Keep warm and enjoy!