Healthy Takes on Fast Food: All the Flavor, Half the Calories

People who love cooking, first and foremost love eating, which is why they enjoy trying out all new recipes, improving old ones, adapting them to their own taste, adding a little something-something on the side and creating a whole plethora of extraordinary things. Eating meals you have made for yourself is a special kind of magic and it is no wonder that most people are not afraid to experiment in their kitchen.

One of these experiments includes modifying your favorite fast food recipes and transforming them into healthy and nutritious food that will look and taste just as good as it does in the fast food joint, probably even better, and which will at the same time be much healthier for you.

Low-Calorie Burgers

The popularity of burgers comes partly from the fact that almost every corner of any big city has its own burger place. Due to such a fierce competition, vendors are permanently trying to make the tastiest burger on the block and therefore have a tendency to add a bunch of delicious, but very unhealthy sauces, toppings and dips. But, if you are looking for a healthy burger, you might want to start counting calories.

Essentially, every part of a burger has its own low-calorie version and can thus be turned into a healthy meal.

First of all, you can slim down your bun – or even pick whole wheat, tortilla or other options that exclude bread. I know we are all fans of a good bun and a very rich burger, but there comes a time when we should put our health first.

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After that, make smaller patties or use tofu or soy meat, which is something even the top chefs enjoy. Finally, be sure to avoid ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise and cheese as they are all high in calories, and you don’t need them that much, but use guacamole and grilled or boiled vegetables as a side dish. The fact is that most of the superfluous calories come from toppings, and they are easiest to get rid of.

Healthy Fish and Chips

There is no need to explain why fish and chips are so irresistible – they just are! Whether you choose to eat them for lunch, in the afternoon, or as an evening snack with a pint of beer, you can never go wrong. However, fish and chips are not as healthy as you may think, but you can change that.

I found this great recipe online, which I’ve made a couple of times, but I often add my own twist to everything Google takes me to.

In this case, by using red potatoes and skinless cod – you can also choose tuna, salmon or other healthy fish instead of cod – fillets, you will avoid all the fat from the original fish and chips recipe. Also, opting for olive oil instead of sunflower, and going easy on the cornmeal will make a huge difference. All you need to do is season the potatoes with salt and pepper and roast them in a pan for half an hour. As for the fish fillets, cook them for about six minutes in a skillet – not a deep fryer! – before serving them with potatoes and lemon. I know it sounds too easy, but the some of the healthiest recipes usually are.

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Sandwich: The Classic Fast Food

Another popular fast food choice that is quickly made and loved all around the world. Nonetheless, sandwiches often contain way too many unnecessary calories. Depending on what you have in your fridge at the moment, a sandwich can be composed of anything from baloney and cheese to salami, dried meat and pepperoni accompanied by a sliced tomato, lettuce or spinach. If you pay attention to what you include in your sandwich, it can be rather nutritious.

For example, you can make grilled goat cheese sandwiches as recommended by this recipe. The point is to use healthy ingredients such as cinnamon-raisin bread, figs, basil and, of course, goat cheese, combined with honey and grated lemon rind. It is easy to make and not that different from other grilled sandwiches. After you have spread the goat cheese mixture over slices of bread, you need to cook them for about three to four minutes on each side in a nonstick skillet, but you can also use a sandwich press instead – but do not forget to place some aluminum foil in the pan, just in case. Ultimately, you can add new ingredients to make it extra healthy.

Further Ideas

Of course, these are not the only fast-turned-healthy foods you can make. Your quick meals can become much more nutritive just by eliminating excessive fat, and much healthier by introducing vegetables. We all need a fast food infusion from time to time, which is perfectly fine, but making it a habit may cost you more than you have bargained for.

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Samantha Olivier has a B.Sc. in nutrition, and has spent two years working as a personal trainer. Since then, she has embarked on a mission to conquer the blogosphere. When not in the gym or on the track, you can find her on Twitter at @sam_olivier_, or in a tea shop.

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