Transform Your Favorite Comfort Foods With 9 Healthy Meal Makeovers

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 Cheese

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.

Fried Chicken

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

Chicken Pot Pie

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.

Zucchini Ribbon Pasta

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

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.

Southwestern-Style Pizza

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.

Stuffed Turkey Burgers and Baked Garlic Fries

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

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

Pear Ginger Crumble


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.