Healthy Meals in a Snap

Fast food. The very thought of it conjures up visions of high fat, high salt, high sugar – and high calorie – meals! Not the best choice if you’re trying to live a healthier lifestyle. But, what if you could you’re your favorite fast food meals healthy too?

Instead of going out to eat, how about cooking all your family’s favorite fast food meals right at home? Did you know that you can make most fast food meals yourself and, with a few adjustments, make them healthier that the originals? And you can make most of them in less time that it takes to pile everyone in the car and go to the restaurant.

Here’s how:

Taco Bell: Most major markets now carry Taco Bell dry seasonings and sauce mixes that you can add to your ground beef, chicken or veggies as you cook them. The tacos, burritos and Enchiritos you make will taste just like the ones from the restaurant.

Since you’re making them yourself, you can use leaner meats and more vegetables. You can also eliminate the less healthy ingredients (like refried beans), and replace them with healthier alternatives (like black beans).

McDonalds: Many of the recipes for McDonalds food items can be found on the internet. One site that is particularly helpful is TopSecretRecipes.com. This site shows you how to make McDonalds hamburgers, Big Macs, and Filet-o-Fish sandwiches, among other items. It turns out that most items are very easy to make at home.

A word of caution here: These recipes are intended to replicate McDonalds items, not make them healthier. That’s up to you. Read through the recipe shown and look for opportunities to make healthy substitutions. Use lower fat beef, fresh ingredients instead of frozen or dried, and low fat alternatives to mayonnaise and other dressings.

Jack In The Box: If you like Jack In The Box tacos or sirloin burgers, you can make them at home by using the recipes on Yummly.com. This site has lots of other restaurant recipes too. Like with the other sites listed here, this one has recipes that replicate our favorite fast food items, not makes them healthier.

Arby’s: Like other fast food restaurants, there is an online source for most of Arby’s sandwiches. You can see their recipes at EasyBreezyRecipes.com. Arby’s products tend to be a bit healthier than the usual fast food, since many are made with sliced roast beef or sliced turkey – no frying. But, be careful. There are still unhealthy items on the menu.

There are lots of sites on the web that feature fast food recipes. Just search on “cook RestaurantName at home” in your browser, where “RestaurantName” is the name of your favorite restaurant.

A lot of the “special” flavors in our favorite fast food is provided by the sauces they use. If you can replicate the sauce, then you can replicate the taste. Look for ways to make these sauces using healthier ingredients and you’re on your way to creating healthier fast food at home.

Of course, the best part of cooking these kid-pleasing meals at home is that you can control what goes into them. You don’t have to follow each recipe exactly. Substitute healthier ingredients, reduce portion sizes, and eliminate the less healthy alternatives. WIth just a little planning, most of these recipes can be made quickly.

Even better, why not include the entire family in the preparation and cooking? What kid wouldn’t want to make a Big Mac in his/her own kitchen? You might find that your kitchen becomes the gathering spot for your family and their friends, and you’ll save money too!

 

Remember, healthy choices each day can transform your family for generations! What choices will you make today?
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You may also want to read: 6 Tips for Enjoying Dessert Without Feeling Guilty, How Food Ads Mislead You, Enjoy the Foods You Love and Still Eat Healthy

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