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Cooking with Karina: Comfort Cuisine

Karina Arnold
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Karina Arnold garnished "zoodles" with rainbow carrots and shredded roasted chicken to make this delectable dish. (Photo: Karina Arnold)

Karina Arnold is a rising sophomore at the University of Oklahoma who’s passionate about healthy cooking. She provides creative, healthy recipes and tips on clean eating.

Long day on the grind, whether that be with work, school, family or financials. These stresses create a gaping hole in your stomach that only Mom’s warm, cheesy lasagna or a dark, fudge-loaded milkshake can fill. Food can’t argue, cut you off on the beltway, ask you to come into work early or demand you pay those bills piling on the counter. Food listens. Food understands. Food is your friend.

According to TIME Magazine, food does, somewhat, become your friend, especially when feeling stress and social isolation. Jordan Troisi, an assistant professor of psychology at Sewanee, The University of The South, said “Comfort food seems to be something people associate very significantly with close relationships… individuals associate a particular food item with members of their family, social gatherings, and people taking care of them.”

However, these foods are often high in carbohydrates, fats, calories, yet low in nutritional value. But, don’t break up with your food bestie because I have some healthy alternatives to America’s classic comfort cravings. Dig in!

Sometimes, all you look forward to is indulging yourself in the warm noodles of your favorite pasta. Instead of loading up on your typical bleached grains, try this Quinoa Mac and Cheese or my personal favorite, Zoodles with Marinara Sauce. Craving that bag of Lays eyeing you from the pantry? Try this satisfying salty alternative of “Cheesy’’ Kale Chips.

Chocolate Avocado Pudding

This Chocolate Avocado Pudding recipe is easy to make and store. Karina Arnold garnished with blueberries and coconut while her friend topped it with almonds and sprinkles. (Photo: Karina Arnold)

Another popular food group Americans turn to in taxing times is sweets. Sweets was once the top of the food pyramid for a reason but like in the Greek fable, Icarus, good things can come crashing down. Nutritionists dismantled the food pyramid and now we have a “Food Plate” with no acknowledgment of sweets. Never fear, I live by the motto no food left behind. With this Chocolate Avocado Pudding, you can satisfy your sweet tooth and provide essential vitamins, especially magnesium, which is found in dark chocolate, almonds and peanut butter. According to educational director for Food as Medicine, Kathie Swift, in the May 2016 Experience L!fe magazine, most Americans are deficient in magnesium, a nutrient that “works like a spark plug for multiple processes in the body.” Magnesium helps with metabolic functions, insulin regulations, detoxification and bone health, to name a few of its important functions.

Let’s admit it: not every day is sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes, when life knocks you down and seems to keep kicking you while you’re down, food is the sweet (or salty) relief. Try these simple indulgences that will not only satisfy, but also fuel you to kick life right back.

What are your weirdest or favorite food cravings? Comment below!

See more posts on healthy cooking from Karina and more Buzz recipes here.

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