Comfort foods are often the dishes that we turn to when we’re feeling down, anxious, or just need a break from life. They fill us with joy. The best part of comfort foods is that they usually have a long-lasting effect on our moods; so while you may not be able to change your life situation right now, these dishes can make you feel better in the moment.
The Science Behind Comfort Foods
There are scientific explanations for why certain foods have such a calming effect on our emotions. Carbohydrates, for example, help increase levels of serotonin in the brain, which has been linked to feelings of happiness and well-being. Fatty foods can also help slow down the release of sugar into the bloodstream, giving us a steadier stream of energy and helping to avoid those sudden drops in blood sugar that can leave us feeling irritable and fatigued.
Eating comfort food releases dopamine in our bloodstream. It is a chemical messenger that sends messages between brain cells. When we eat something rewarding like comfort food it makes us feel good. This connection makes us always want those foods.
Then there are the more personal reasons why particular comfort foods hold such sway over our emotions. Maybe it’s because they remind us of happy times from our childhoods or offer a taste of home if we’re far from where we grew up. Sometimes it’s simply because they’re the foods our mothers cooked for us, and we associate them with a sense of love and care.
Comfort Foods That Are Easy to Prepare
There are plenty of comforting dishes that are easy to prepare and won’t require much work or time in the kitchen. Here are a few of our favorites:
Mac and Cheese
This classic dish is always a hit with kids and adults alike. It’s easy to make, and you can customize it with your favorite toppings. For instance, you can add different types of meats, vegetables, or cheeses.
This hearty dish is perfect for warming up on a cold winter night. It’s easy to make, and you can adjust the spiciness to your liking. The ingredients for chili can vary depending on the recipe, but it typically contains ground beef or turkey, onions, garlic, tomatoes, chili peppers, and various spices.
Pizza is always a crowd-pleaser, and there are endless variations to choose from. You can make your own dough, or you can use store-bought dough or a pre-made crust. Top it with your favorite sauce and toppings, and you’re good to go.
There’s nothing quite like a warm, delicious baked treat to make you feel cozy and comforted. Whether it’s a freshly-baked chocolate chip cookie, a slice of warm apple pie, or some freshly-made cinnamon rolls, there’s just something about baked goods that makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
Plus, baking is a great way to relax and de-stress. It’s a relatively simple process, and the results always seem to be satisfying. Baking also allows you to customize your treats however you want, so you can create your own unique comfort food masterpiece. There are many easy-to-bake recipes that have become family favorites.
Grilled Cheese Sandwich
There’s nothing quite like a grilled cheese sandwich when you need a quick and easy comfort food fix. You can add your favorite toppings, or keep it simple with just cheese and bread.
There are endless possibilities when it comes to soups, and they’re all perfect for comfort food cravings. Whether you go for a classic like chicken soup or something a little more exotic, you can’t go wrong with soup.
Preparing Comfort Food is Also Comforting
When it comes to comfort foods, nothing beats dishes that you can prepare yourself. Not only is it satisfying to make a warm and delicious meal, but preparing comfort food can also be comforting in itself. It’s a task that you can easily sink into, one that allows you to focus on the present moment and forget about all of your troubles. Plus, there’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of digging into a dish that you made with your own hands.
There’s also something about the process of cooking that’s inherently calming. It’s a slow and methodical activity, one that gives you time to relax and think things through. And when you finally sit down to enjoy your creation, you get to savor all of the delicious flavors and aromas that you’ve created. There’s no better feeling than that.
Oldies But Goodies
No matter what the reasons are, comfort foods play an important role in our lives. They help us to feel better when we’re feeling down, give us a boost of energy when we need it, and remind us of the people and places we love. So next time you’re feeling stressed out or overwhelmed, reach for your favorite comfort food or make it — it’ll make all the difference. You’ll be glad you did.