Guilt-Free Versions Of Your 25 Favorite Comfort Foods

Comfort foods are an edible encapsulation of the past. Memories of birthday parties, holidays, or times when you stayed home "sick" from school are most aptly preserved not in photos or home movies, but in your aunt's sweet and sour pot roast, your cousin's signature apple pie, or your mom's humble grilled cheese with a bowl of tomato soup — and love, of course. But these foods are comforting for a reason: They tend to be delicious and decadent, using copious amounts of indulgent ingredients like butter, heavy cream, cheese, sugar, ground beef, and bacon.

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But as we grow older and wiser, we realize that the foods of our childhood can lead to some serious health complications. Anyone suffering from high blood pressure, diabetes, or even gluten sensitivity has to be conscious when consuming these rich ingredients. Fortunately, innovative chefs and home cooks have been working on developing guilt-free versions that preserve the taste, texture, and aroma of our favorite comfort foods. Many times it's a simple as swapping Greek yogurt for sour cream or lean turkey for ground beef, or baking instead of frying to transform a calorie-laden dish into a healthy meal.

Celebrate the past while embracing a healthier future with these 25 guilt-free versions of your favorite comfort foods.