How Do You Make Healthy Soul Food?

Soul food is a type of cuisine that has been cooked and enjoyed in African-American households for generations. It’s often associated with comfort food, but it doesn’t have to be unhealthy. In fact, with a few adjustments, soul food recipes can be made healthier without sacrificing the flavor and soulful qualities that make it so beloved.

Choose Leaner Cuts of Meat and Trim the Fat – Soul food is known for its hearty dishes like fried chicken and pork chops, but they don’t have to be loaded with fat and calories. Choose lean cuts of meat such as chicken breasts or turkey chops, and trim away any excess fat before cooking. You can also opt for plant-based proteins such as beans or tofu for a healthier alternative.

Go For Less Sodium – Sodium is an important ingredient in many soul food dishes, but too much salt can increase your risk of hypertension and other health conditions. For example, when making collard greens or macaroni and cheese, reduce the amount of salt called for in the recipe or use low-sodium broth instead of regular broth. Additionally, skip the processed meats like bacon and ham that are high in sodium.

Make Smart Substitutions – Many traditional soul food dishes call for ingredients like lard or butter that are high in saturated fats. Instead of using these ingredients, opt for healthier alternatives when possible such as olive oil or avocado oil when sautéing vegetables or making sauces. You can also replace white flour with whole wheat flour in recipes like cornbread or biscuits to boost their nutritional value without sacrificing flavor.

Add More Veggies – Vegetables are an important part of any healthy diet so try to incorporate them into your soul food recipes whenever possible. Add some diced onions to your fried chicken batter for added flavor and nutrition or try adding some greens like kale or spinach to traditional dishes like collards or black-eyed peas for added vitamins and minerals.


Making healthy soul food doesn’t have to be difficult – just choose leaner cuts of meat, go easy on the salt, make smart substitutions for traditional ingredients, and add more veggies! With these simple tips you can enjoy delicious fare without compromising your health goals.