Fast food is just what it’s called: it’s FAST. A lot of it tastes good. Really good. Unfortunately a lot of it isn’t’ healthy, or good for us. You may crave it and it may be easy to get, but the most important aspect should be our health and the health and well being of our loved ones. So, what can you do and eat in place of the foods you crave? It may take a little searching and taste testing on your part, but there are a lot of healthy AND tasty substitutes for our favorite junk food. You’re probably ready to dismiss this idea and move on, but give it time to hear some of the ideas. You just might turn your family (and your) taste buds around to healthy goodies after all! And, just so you know you’re not alone, this is a personal mission for myself to eat better and make better choices. (As you will discover, the heading titles are my own inner feelings on this most important subject matter!)
I Can’t Give Up My Cheeseburger!
There’s just something about a hamburger! When you try and talk yourself into a healthier eating lifestyle, that’s one of the first things you really don’t want to think about giving up! Hamburgers & cheeseburgers are American staples. They are tasty and very convenient when it comes to fast food. How can you keep them in your eating routine but make them a little bit healthier for you?
- Cut out the buns, keep the veggies. Use mushrooms as buns or wrap your burgers in lettuce
- Use lean ground beef or ground sirloin
- Switch from beef to chicken, turkey, fish or veggie patties
- Drop the cheese or choose low fat or fat free cheese as options
French Fries And Chips Are My Life
If we are being honest and real about the foods we struggle with the most, these are mine. If there’s anything I want and crave, above all else, it’s french fries and potato chips. I’ve had a lifelong bond with potatoes, I mean they are AMAZING! Add some hot oil, you’ve got magic. There are some really great ideas and ways to fix potatoes so you aren’t sacrificing taste for healthier cooking options and other vegetables that are low-carb that you can try instead.
- Toss potatoes in olive oil or coconut oil, and roast them in the oven or cook them in an air fryer (add salt, pepper, garlic, or your other favorite spices for taste)
- Try roasting (or air frying) carrots, sweet potatoes, zucchini or your other favorite veggies for a low carb option to potatoes
- You don’t have to give up the crunch of potato chips. Switch to kale chips, black bean chips, roasted chickpeas, or other veggie chips. Feeling brave? Investigate how to make homemade veggie chips in your own kitchen
- If you love mashed potatoes and find yourself making them often, try mashed cauliflower as a healthier alternative. I know it doesn’t sound exciting, but I”ve found cauliflower to bring a nice flavor and be a good potato substitute
Chocolate Completes Me
Chocolate. It’s such a happy word. And lots of health experts will tell you, certain kinds of chocolate are actually GOOD for you! Dark chocolate, high levels of cacao contain lots of antioxidants that hold good nutritional value. Sugar is the enemy here. There are smart ways to still get your chocolate fix without having to feel too guilty about eating it,
- If you must have some chocolate candy, choose chocolate covered nuts or fruit, adding some protein and nutritional value to your splurge
- There are plenty of brands of good quality chocolate that offer sugar free options, just be sure to read the label so you know the calorie and ingredient content
- Do your chocolate research, find the brands and ingredient ratios that health experts deem the most nutritious forms of your favorite treat
Ice Cream Makes Everything Better
Some may consider ice cream a dessert only in warm weather. Who are those people? There is never a climate that would isolate me from ice cream. It does provide a good source of dairy and sweet goodness to your palate, but it really isn’t all that healthy. This is a great category to find healthier options because there are so many healthy options that can become a tasty dessert.
- Freeze your favorite yogurt and eat it like you would ice cream (add some fruit to enhance its taste and health benefits)
- There are lots of healthier options in the frozen aisle these days: frozen yogurt, frozen fruit bars, chocolate dipped bananas, sugar free ice cream, fruit sorbets, the list is endless. Just make sure you check the calorie, fat, and sugar content before buying!
- Homemade smoothies with nutritious fruit and veggie combos
- Make your own ice cream using frozen bananas and other fruits
Food Is An Ongoing Experiment
Just like scientists are always searching for answers to so many important questions, food is its own science, full of possibilities with more than one way to create something tasty. Choosing to eat healthier is always a good choice and one that opens the door to some great food options we may have been missing. There is always an alternative, so get out there and start trying new foods and finding new ways to cook and prepare them. In time, you may just find you like the healthier options better and your old eating habits won’t cause you to miss things that were never really good for you in the first place!
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