Transform Your Favorite Comfort Foods With 9 Healthy Meal Makeovers

Try Cooking Channel's healthy, low-calorie comfort food makeovers for macaroni and cheese, chicken pot pie, fried chicken, cupcakes, pizza and more.

As your daydreams about time on the beach become a reality this summer, so does slimming down to fit into your swimsuit. But just because you want to look good while splashing around, that doesn't mean you have to eat salads and boiled chicken all summer; in fact, you can still enjoy all of your comfort food favorites with a few easy swaps.

Whether it's macaroni and cheese with some secret squash filler or devil's food cupcakes turned angelic with whole-wheat flour, it's easy to slim down your meals. Check out nine mind-blowing meal transformations below.

Macaroni and 4 Cheeses

Photo by: Tara Donne ©Tara Donne

Tara Donne, Tara Donne

This baked mac and cheese has  four cheeses, but cuts calories by using pureed winter squash to thicken up the sauce. Bonus: This is an easy way to get kids to eat their veggies, too.

Ellie Krieger's easy recipe uses chicken breasts coated in saltine breadcrumbs, but you could substitute chicken thighs for even juicier baked fried chicken.

The secret to Bobby Deen's guiltless  Chicken Pot Pie is all in the crust. Thin sheets of phyllo dough top the creamy filling for a crust that's arguably even better than a traditional pie crust.



EK-0503 Zucchini Ribbon Pasta, Zucchini Ribbon Pasta

Photo by: Marshall Troy ©2012,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Marshall Troy, 2012,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Yes, you can have a big bowl of pasta when you're on a diet. Mix in some "zoodles" — aka  Zucchini Ribbon Pasta — with whole-wheat pasta for a filling meal with fewer than 500 calories per serving.

Slow Cooker Sunday Gravy

Photo by: Marshall Troy ©2012,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Marshall Troy, 2012,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

If you're craving mom's homemade sauce on your pasta, try this  Slow-Cooker Sunday Gravy on top of your zoodles. Even though it uses lean chuck steak, the slow-cooking process makes a melt-in-your-mouth sauce.

Instead of ordering a large pizza from Papa John's or hitting Taco Bell, mix the two cuisines with Bobby's  Southwestern-Style Pizza. All of that melted cheese doesn't  look healthy, but it is, so indulge away.

Instead of heading out for fast food, try Stuffed Turkey Burgers packed with melted mozzarella cheese and Baked Garlic Fries at home. They're so satisfying and hearty that you won't miss the secret sauce.

Devil's Food Cupcakes with Chocolate Icing

Photo by: Tara Donne ©Tara Donne

Tara Donne, Tara Donne

These  Devil's Food Cupcakes with Chocolate Icing are like the ones from your lunchbox as a kid, except way healthier.

If you're hankering for something warm and bubbly like apple pie, try a  Pear Ginger Crumble. You can even add some low-calorie ice cream or frozen yogurt for more decadence.

For more healthy comfort food makeovers, watch Bobby Deen and Nikki Dinki's new show Junk Food Flippremiering June 2 at 9pm ET.

Next Up

Meatless Monday: Veggie Burgers

Vegetarian burgers have a bad rep, but can actually be quite delicious. You just need the right recipe, and these really simple black bean burgers are it.

Healthier Take-Out Ideas

Make meals that are better and healthier than takeout in under 30 minutes with these recipes for Chinese, Thai, Indian and Mexican food.

Breads and Cakes So Full of Vegetables That You're Basically Eating a Salad

Get healthy vegetable bread and cake recipes on Cooking Channel.

Start Your Day with a Delicious Morning Blend

Get a great start to the day with Kelsey Nixon's recipe for a Green Smoothie. It's healthy, delicious and easy to make plus clean up. Win-win!

Cookbook Giveaway: Dish Do-Over

Enter to win a copy of Jo Lusted's new cookbook, Dish Do-Over.

Sifted: Winter Comfort Foods, Healthy Weeknight Recipes + More

Get our take on the best in food news, recipes and more from around the web, including winter comfort foods and healthy recipes.


So Much Pretty Food Here