Comfort food

From WikiMD's Health & Wellness Encyclopedia

Chicken soup is a common classic comfort food that is found across various cultures, and is widely regarded as a folk remedy for the common cold and flu.

Comfort food is traditionally eaten food (which often provides a nostalgic or sentimental feeling to the person eating it),[1] or simply provides the consumer a familiar meal, soft in consistency, and rich in calories, nutrients, or both.[2] The nostalgic element most comfort food has, may be specific to either the individual or a specific culture.[3] Many comfort foods are flavorful; some may also be easily prepared.

Reasons[edit | edit source]

  • There are several reasons why people turn to comfort foods. One of the main reasons is stress.
  • According to a study published in the journal "Appetite" in 2011, stress can lead to an increase in the consumption of high-fat and high-sugar foods. This is because these foods can trigger the release of chemicals in the brain that promote feelings of pleasure and relaxation.
  • Another reason why people turn to comfort foods is emotional eating.
  • Emotional eating is when people turn to food as a means of coping with negative emotions such as sadness, anger, or anxiety. According to a study published in the journal "Obesity" in 2016, emotional eating is associated with an increased risk of obesity and related health problems.
  • Comfort foods can also be a way to cope with boredom. People may turn to food as a form of entertainment when they are feeling bored, and this can lead to overeating and weight gain.

How to have them on a balanced diet?[edit | edit source]

Despite their unhealthy reputation, comfort foods can have a place in a balanced diet. It's important to recognize that everyone needs to take a break from their diet sometimes, and to allow yourself to indulge in a comfort food from time to time. The key is to practice moderation and balance. For example, instead of eating a whole pizza, you can have a slice or two and pair it with a salad or a glass of water.

Use alternative versions[edit | edit source]

It's also worth noting that there are healthier versions of comfort foods that can be made at home. For example, instead of deep-fried chicken, you can try baking or grilling it. Instead of using store-bought, high-sugar, and high-fat macaroni and cheese, you can make your own with whole-grain pasta and a homemade cheese sauce made with low-fat milk.

Sample recipes[edit | edit source]

Here are some recipes for healthier versions of comfort foods:

Healthy Baked Macaroni and Cheese:

  • -8 oz whole wheat elbow macaroni
  • -1 cup of low-fat milk
  • -1/4 cup of all-purpose flour
  • -1/2 cup of grated cheddar cheese
  • -1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
  • -1/4 teaspoon of black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cook macaroni according to package instructions.
  3. In a saucepan, combine the milk and flour and cook over medium heat until thickened.
  4. Stir in the cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese, and black pepper.
  5. Add the cooked macaroni to the sauce and mix well.
  6. Pour the mixture into a baking dish and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.

Grilled Chicken with Lemon and Herbs:

  • -4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • -2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • -2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • -1/4 cup of chopped fresh herbs (such as rosemary, thyme, and parsley)
  • -1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • -1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
  • -1 lemon, juiced


  1. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the garlic, olive oil, herbs, salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
  3. Brush the mixture over the chicken breasts.
  4. Grill the chicken for 6-8 minutes per side, or until fully cooked.

Both of these recipes are healthier versions of classic comfort foods that are still enjoyable and satisfying. The baked macaroni and cheese uses whole wheat pasta and low-fat milk to reduce the fat and calorie content, while the grilled chicken is a lean protein source that is flavored with herbs and lemon for added taste.

Comfort foods by country[edit | edit source]

Australia and New Zealand[edit | edit source]

Australian comfort foods include the following foods:[4][5]

Britain[edit | edit source]

Bangers and mash is a British comfort food.[7]

British comfort foods include the following foods:[8][9][10]

Indonesia[edit | edit source]

Bubur ayam (chicken congee) is an Indonesian comfort food.

Some popular Indonesian foods are considered to be comfort food, usually served hot or warm, and soupy or with a soft texture. Some Indonesian comfort foods are traditional Indonesian food and some are derived from Chinese influences. For some Indonesians, especially those who are abroad, comfort food might also be a certain brand or type of Indonesian instant noodle, such as Indomie Mi goreng.[11] Indonesian comfort foods include:

Philippines[edit | edit source]

Poland[edit | edit source]

Polish comfort food include the following foods:

Russia and Ukraine[edit | edit source]

Russian and Ukrainian comfort foods include the following foods:

United States and Canada[edit | edit source]

Macaroni and cheese is an American comfort food.[19]
Fried chicken is another American comfort food.[19]

North American comfort foods include baked beans, apple pie, clam chowder, chicken noodle soup, casseroles, and other warm, inviting, and familiar foods.[20]

Following a reader's opinion poll by, the following foods were listed as the most common comfort foods by American respondents:[19]

Other comfort foods, as reported by CNN, include:[21]

One recent development, as chefs have explored the roots of American cuisine and tried to define it as a unique style, is the advent of fine dining comfort food restaurants that feature more careful cooking and presentation, higher quality, and fresh organic ingredients, along with consequently higher prices.[22]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Comfort Food." (definition). Accessed July 2011.
  2. "Comfort food". The Free Dictionary By Farlex. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  3. Rufus, Anneli (June 22, 2011). "Explaining the Psychology of Comfort Food". Gilt Taste. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
  4. "Australian Comfort Food Recipes".
  5. "Ultimate Comfort Food". ninemsn Food. ninemsn.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Romero, Jo (27 September 2012). "Comfort foods from around the world". Yahoo! Lifestyle UK. Yahoo!.
  7. "Bangers and mash most popular comfort food as Britons eat more during credit crunch". Telegraph. Retrieved 2013-05-08.
  8. "All-time classic British comfort food recipes". Delicious Magazine.
  9. "Comfort food recipes". BBC Good Food. BBC.
  10. "British comfort food to make your mouth water".
  11. 11.0 11.1 Indomie - Mi Goreng
  13. Comfort Food Helps Indonesian Maid Recover
  14. 14.0 14.1 BBC: Barack Obama's Indonesia charm offensive
  15. Chowhound Indonesia - Soto Ayam at Malioboro Country
  16. Ardis, Susan (7 November 2012). "Pierogies: Comfort food, Polish style". The State.
  17. Scatts (17 January 2011). "What Is Polish "Comfort Food"?". Polandian. Wordpress.
  18. Izlar, Camille (14 February 2013). "Polish Comfort Food: Best Way to Stay Warm". Steve Dolinsky.
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 Filippone, Peggy Trowbridge. "Top 25 Comfort Foods and Recipes".
  20. Slotnik, Daniel E. (26 May 2012). "What's Your Comfort Food?". The New York Times.
  21. Joseph, Dana (10 May 2012). "American food: the 50 greatest dishes". CNN Travel. Time Warner.

External links[edit | edit source]


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