5 Ideas For Low-Calorie And Healthy Fast Food Alternatives
Snacks & Small Bites

5 Ideas For Low-Calorie And Healthy Fast Food Alternatives

Posted

20 November 2016

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We’ve all succumbed to fast-food before, and even though we know without a doubt that they’re not good for us and downright unhealthy, we still give in to temptation every once in a while. Wouldn’t it be great if we had healthier alternatives?

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Well, guess what? You do. It’s all about the choices you make and the effort you’re willing to put into it. Of course, getting fast-food delivered to you is super convenient but think about the trade-off; is it worth the detrimental effects to your health?

Here are a few yummy healthy options for you to consider swapping that bad food habit for.

Credit: Tori Avey

Swap Chipotle Bowls for Quinoa Black Bean Burrito Bowls

Despite how delicious Chipotle may be, it contains high amounts of sodium which must be limited in your diet. The American Heart Association recommends that people should eat no more than 1,500mg of sodium a day for health reasons; particularly targeted at people with high blood pressure. Create a healthy version of a Chipotle bowl according to your liking!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • ¼ cup of minced onion
  • 1 clove of minced garlic
  • 2 cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • ¼ cup of chopped fresh cilantro
  • ¼ teaspoon chilli powder (optional)
  • ¼ cup of fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup of shredded lettuce
  • Cayenne pepper and salt
  • Grated cheddar cheese
  • Low-fat sour cream or Greek yoghurt
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Guacamole
  • Corn
  • Avocado

Method:

  1. Rinse quinoa with a sieve and drain.
  2. Put quinoa into a saucepan with 2 cups of water. Bring saucepan to a boil, and reduce heat to a low simmer. Cover the pot.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in another pot over medium heat. Sautee minced onions and minced garlic until they soften and turn brown (for approx. 4 minutes).
  4. Add black beans to the pot of onions with ½ cup of water, 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro, chilli powder and cayenne pepper. Bring beans to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 15 minutes until liquid has evaporated.
  5. Stir 2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice into black bean mixture. Season with salt.
  6. Remove quinoa from heat and lightly fluff with fork. Mix in 2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro and 2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice. Season with salt.
  7. Divide your quinoa, black bean mixture and shredded lettuce between 4 bowls.
  8. Assemble with optional toppings (guacamole, salsa, avocado, tomatoes, etc.) Serve warm!

Credit: Taste

Swap Fast-Food Burgers for Healthy Classic Cheeseburgers

Scratch those drive-thrus off your list! Replace your favourite fast-food meals with healthy cheeseburgers which consist of just half the calories of a fast-food restaurant burger! Did you know that there are about 20-30 ingredients in a McDonalds bun alone? Try out this recipe for clean and classic cheeseburgers!

Ingredients:

  • 320g of extra-lean ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons of finely chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons of chilli sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
  • 4 slices of low-fat cheddar cheese
  • 4 whole-wheat (or whole-grain) hamburger buns
  • Lettuce, tomato slices and pickles

Method:

  1. Combine ground beef, 2 tablespoons of chopped onions and chilli sauce, and 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard.
  2. Form mixture into 4 1-inch thick burger patties. Broil each patty for approx. 5-7 minutes on each side (depending on your desired wellness).
  3. Top each burger with a cheese slice before removing from the oven.
  4. Transfer patties onto hamburger buns, and top each burger with lettuce, tomato slices and pickles. Serve warm!

Credit: Healthful Pursuit

Swap Sugar-Laden Donuts for Chai-Spiced Donuts with Almond Frosting

Tempted to eat dessert with your morning cup of coffee? Do not worry! There are plenty of healthy dessert ideas like this recipe for healthy chai-spiced donuts with almond frosting! Yummy!

Chai-Spice Donuts:

  • 1 cup of egg whites
  • ¼ cup of extra virgin coconut oil
  • ¼ cup of coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons of xylitol
  • 1 teaspoon gluten-free pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon pure natural almond extract
  • ¼ cup of coconut flour
  • 1 tablespoon of flax seeds
  • 2 tablespoons of chai masala
  • 1 teaspoon of gluten-free baking powder

Sugar-free Almond Frosting:

  • 1 tablespoon of coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons of ground xylitol
  • 1 tablespoon of melted coconut butter
  • 4 teaspoon of arrowroot starch
  • ¼ teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
  • ⅛ teaspoon of pure almond extract

Method for Donuts:

  1. Preheat oven to 190°C and set out a normal-sized donut pan.
  2. Place dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl and whisk to combine.
  3. In a separate large bowl, combine the wet ingredients.
  4. Combine both dry and wet mixtures and stir well. Allow to sit for approx. 3 minutes until mixture starts to thicken.
  5. Place batter in a piping bag or large ziploc bag (with a corner cut off for a ½ inch opening).
  6. Pipe the mixture into the donut pan about ¾ to the top. Do not overfill the donut pans as it may look like bundt cakes instead of donuts.
  7. Place in oven to bake for approx. 16-20 minutes. Gently poke donut with a toothpick to test the doneness. If toothpick comes out clean, it is done!
  8. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool for 2 minutes before taking off the pan.
  9. Allow to cool completely for 20 minutes before adding almond frosting.

Method for Almond Frosting:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Whisk until combined. If the mixture becomes too liquid-like, place in the refrigerator to allow the coconut butter to harden slightly.

Credit:Recipe Hubs

Swap French Fries for Baked Sweet Potato Fries

One of the greatest moments of weakness is indulging in french fries before eating your main meal. That itself, can potentially equal to the calorie intake of your entire main meal. Replace french fries with sweet potatoes; which reduce bloating and your ‘starchy’ carbohydrate intake! Try out this recipe of baked sweet potato fries - guaranteed to fill you up with no regrets!

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium-sized sweet potatoes (look for smooth, firm and evenly toned skin as they make the best sweet potato fries)
  • 1 tablespoon of cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil (or coconut oil)
  • Salt, pepper and any desired spices (cumin, cayenne pepper, paprika, curry powder, garlic powder are great!)
  • Chopped cilantro

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 220°C.
  2. Peel sweet potatoes and cut them into fry-shaped pieces. Cut them into similar sizes therefore fries will bake evenly.
  3. Place fries into a mixing bowl; sprinkle with cornstarch, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, pepper and any desired spices (use ½ teaspoon per potato), and chopped cilantro. Combine mixture evenly!
  4. Put the fries directly onto a nonstick baking sheet. Arrange fries in a single layer. Do not over crowd or put them on top of each other as they may bake unevenly.
  5. Bake fries for approx. 10-15 minutes each side until crispy (do not worry as they start to brown more than others; they are more caramelised than burnt!).
  6. Serve with ketchup or any desired sauces!

Credit: Tasty Buzzfeed

Swap Potato Crisps for Zucchini Parmesan Crisps

Let’s be honest, most of us are huge snack fiends and a popular choice is potato crisps. Replacing potatoes with vegetables to create crisps is a great option for your health. Potato crisps are delicious, but vegetable crisps can be just, if not more, tasty! Combine vegetable crisps with your favourite spices, and surely you will want to make them more than once!

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium zucchinis
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • ¼ cup of freshly grated Parmesan
  • ¼ cup of dry bread crumbs
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 230 °C. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Slice zucchini into ¼ inch thick rounds.
  3. In a medium bowl, toss zucchini with oil.
  4. In a small bowl, combine Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Dip each zucchini piece into the Parmesan mixture on both sides.
  6. Place zucchini pieces onto the prepared baking sheet in a single layer (do not over crowd!)
  7. Bake zucchini rounds until crisp and brown (approx. 25-30 minutes).
  8. Remove from baking sheet and serve immediately.

What are your favourite healthy fast-food alternatives?

References:

Quinoa Black Bean Burrito Bowls
HEALTHY HOMEMADE CHEESEBURGERS
26 Fast-Food Lunches That Are Actually Healthy
Chai Spice Doughnuts with Almond Frosting
Celebrate National Doughnut Day With These Healthy Recipes
Crispy Baked Sweet Potato Fries
Zucchini Parmesan Crisps
Combine Garlic, Parmesan, And Zucchini And You’ve Got Yourself A Totally Delicious Snack
6 Tips for Flawless Kale Chips + All-Dressed Kale Chips recipe


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