Skip The Drive-Thru: 5 Healthy Fast Food Alternatives

Sometimes it’s hard to kick a fast food craving. One minute you find yourself heading to the nearest drive-thru and the next minute you’re struggling with guilt and an expanding waistline. Wouldn’t it be nice if your food could have all the flavor of fast food without the grease and calories? It is possible. Check out these healthy ways to indulge in your favorite junk foods.

Burgers

A burger doesn’t always have to mean a greasy slab of fatty beef.  There are many healthier ways to make burgers.  If you use ground beef to make your burgers, make sure that the meat is very lean.  You can also use ground turkey as a delicious substitute and you’ll hardly notice the difference.  Or grill some chicken breast, put it in a bun, and top it with all your favorite condiments to avoid red meat altogether.  If you don’t eat meat at all, you still have options.  While some people think of veggie burgers as cardboard-tasting patties, veggie burgers can be delicious.  Buy them frozen or make your own; you can even get bean burgers that taste just as good as the real thing.

Goat Cheese and Spinach Turkey Burgers
Mediterranean Burgers

 

Fries

When it comes to fries, your best option is to make them at home.  While most restaurants use beef fat to cook their fries, you can use olive oil or other heart-healthy substitutes.  Or instead of frying them, bake them in the oven.  The end result will be non-greasy and delicious.  Replacing your ordinary potatoes with sweet potatoes can also be a nutritious switch.  Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamins A and E and add a sweet twist to your snack.  You can even make French fries using polenta, which is made from boiled cornmeal.     

Baked Low-Fat French Fries
Fresh Rosemary French Fries
Sweet Potato Fri with Sage

Pizza

A healthy crust is the first step towards a nutritious pizza.  Use wheat flour instead of white flour to add some fiber to your crust.  Next, add sauce and sprinkle with reduced-fat cheese, as cheese is notoriously high in saturated fat.  Unless you’re topping your pizza with grilled chicken or other healthy options, skip the meat.  Pepperoni, sausage, and ham are chock full of fat and sodium.  Throw some fresh veggies on top, instead.  Spinach, mushrooms, and green peppers taste great and they’re healthy, too! 

Healthy Pizza Dough
Whole Wheat Pizza
Blackened Shrimp Pizza

Fried Chicken

Like French fries, fried chicken is best when it’s done at home.  By breading the chicken and popping it in the oven, it will come out tasting just like the real thing, minus the calories! 

Low-Fat Fried Chicken
Low-Carb Oven-Fried Chicken

Mexican

Mexican food doesn’t have to mean Taco Bell.  By using fresh ingredients and lean meats, you can make healthy, mouth-watering Mexican food.  Stir-fry chicken, fresh bell peppers, and onions in a little bit of olive oil and you’ll have delicious fajitas without the grease.  Put heart-healthy slices of avocado into your tacos and burritos for additional nutrients.  You can also add black beans for an extra dose of fiber.  Do your best to avoid sour cream and cheese.  You can add salsa for flavor, instead.  Pico de gallo is a great way to get some fresh tomatoes into your meal.  If you do decide to top your Mexican food with sour cream or cheese, stick to non-fat or reduced-fat varieties.   

Chicken Taco Salad
Black Bean Burrito Bake
Tasty Low-Carb Fajita Wrap