Valentine’s Day is a day to show appreciation for your favorite people; it’s a time to celebrate friendships, loved ones and yourself. Some people choose not to celebrate the holiday at all, and others refer to it as Singles Awareness Day and turn to their favorite comfort foods to get through the day.
For better or worse, certain foods have an effect on our mood and how we feel. As the term implies, comfort foods give us a sense of well-being and temporary relief, but they’re notoriously high in carbohydrates, sugar and/or fat. Studies show that the overall effect of comfort food is partly psychological and partly biochemical. Some foods have the power to take us back to our childhood, where we had a sense of feeling secure and belonging.
Comfort eating and the relationship between food and mood is complex and depends on many factors, but we do know that a balanced meal that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats will provide the nutrients necessary to keep you feeling good — physically and emotionally.
This year, whether you’re cooking for one or two, prepare a meal that includes mood-boosting foods that will be sure to keep everyone happy and healthy, because isn’t that the most important thing of all?
Here are two recipes for comfort foods that are usually considered unhealthy — pizza and chocolate walnut brownies — that incorporate healthy substitutes to help you feel less guilty about indulging.
Note: For added fiber, you can use oat flour. To make oat flour, place old-fashioned oats in a blender or food processor and blend or process until the oats resemble flour. Measure the oat flour after blending — not before. If you want to lower the calories and fat, you can also eliminate the walnuts.
Brownies (per serving):