Fast food and a flat belly just don’t go well together. Fast food meals are often packed with unhealthy amounts of trans fats, sugars, and salt, and they’re one of the leading causes of obesity in the country. Here’s the bad news though: they taste so good that you’ll still crave for them even if you decide to cut them out of your staple diet.
Does wanting to lose weight and stay fit mean that all hope of having a healthy relationship with fast food is gone? Not really. In fact, you can still enjoy fast food every now and then as long as they are eaten in moderation. Even better, you can make healthier versions of fast food meals right in your own kitchen.
Why bother making healthier versions of fast food dishes when you can just completely ditch them? It’s mainly because of these reasons:
- Healthy fast food recipes are perfect for people who want to ease their transition into a healthier diet.
- Fast food meals are a favorite among children, so making a healthier version of those recipes will go a long way in promoting proper nutrition and eating habits in your home.
- Like we said earlier, fast food meals are just too good to just completely exclude them from your options. Arming one’s self with healthy fast food recipes means that you don’t have to buy greasy food whenever you crave for your favorite fries and burgers.
Take note that these healthy fast food recipes are just alternative to fast food meals – you still need to eat other healthy dishes for a completely balanced diet. The main point of these recipes is to allow you to enjoy fast food meals while cutting down your calorie, fat, and sodium intake.
There are many popular types of fast food meals, but we decided to focus on the ones people would most likely want to enjoy – burgers, nuggets, and fries.
- Quarter Pounder Cheeseburger
This is not a joke – it is possible to have a juicy, tasty burger that’s still good enough to fit your healthy lifestyle. The key to making healthy burgers is to know what exactly is in the burger and which ingredients can be replaced with healthier alternatives. This recipe actually shaves 300 calories off the usual quarter pounders you can get at popular fast food chains. What’s not to like?
400 g minced lean beef
2 chopped green onions
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
2 tsp mustard
1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
4 slices low-fat cheddar cheese
4 wheat bread rolls
1 c shredded iceberg lettuce
1 sliced tomato
1 sliced red onion
Method: Make the patties by mixing the minced meat, green onion, egg yolk, breadcrumbs, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Divide into four patties and refrigerate for half an hour. Fry in oil over medium heat for 10 minutes. Turn the patties every 2 minutes. In the last 2 minutes, add a slice of cheese over each patty. Cover with a lid until the cheese melts. Finish the burgers by assembling the patties with the bread, lettuce, tomato, and red onion.
- Chicken Nuggets
Everybody loves a batch of golden, crispy, and delicious chicken nuggets, but it’s even better if you can make them healthier, especially since they’re a popular food choice for the kids. This enhanced recipe is baked to perfection and coated with almonds while also containing less cholesterol and calories per serving. If you want chicken nuggets and you’re working on maintaining a good BMI, this is a great alternative!
1 tsp salt
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 c milk
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 lbs boneless and skinless chicken breasts cut into bite-size pieces
Method: Ground the almonds finely in a food processor. Transfer to a bowl and season with salt, smoked paprika, black pepper, and garlic powder. In another bowl, combine the milk with a beaten egg. Put the flour in a third bowl. Dip each piece of chicken in the flour mixture, followed by the milk and egg, and the almonds. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake for 8-10 minutes in a preheated 400 F oven. Flip halfway. Serve immediately with a dipping sauce.
- French Fries
French fries are a popular snack and are preferred as a comfort food by many people. Unfortunately, this also makes it easier for many people to eat huge servings of greasy fries. That being said, making a healthier version of French fries is never a bad move. In this recipe, a single serving of these golden spuds packs 61% of your daily Vitamin C requirement, making them a cut above your greasy fast food staple. The best part? You get to pick your own fresh potatoes from the market instead of the pre-cut freeze-dried spuds stored in plastic bags.
1 large potato per person
1 tbsp olive oil
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
Method: Wash and scrub the potatoes and leave the skins on. Cut into wedges that are 1 to 1.5 cm thick and place the slices on a lightly oiled tray. Next, add 1 tbsp of oil into the potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Toss with your hands to coat evenly. Place the tray in a preheated 390 F oven and bake for an hour or until the wedges are golden and crispy. Make sure you turn each piece after 40 minutes.
If you need more healthy fast food recipes, you can always do a quick online search and find dozens of options for each type of popular fast food dishes.
These healthy fast food-favorite recipes are in no way a substitute to maintaining better eating habits, but they’re a good way to get you started down that line. The next time you start craving for fast food, or if you want something healthy but fun to eat during movie nights or weekends with kids, you can try using these recipes instead of heading straight to your nearest fast food outlet.