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For most of us, indulging in fast food has become a daily norm. And no matter how much we know the fact that fast food is unhealthy due to its high calorie, sodium and unhealthy fat content, we often end up ordering our favourite fast food meals at least once or twice a week.
The ingredients used in fast foods are refined grains, added sugar, high fat meat and food additives all of which are harmful to your health . But, you can make your fast foods healthy by making it at home and using nutritious ingredients such as whole grains, fresh vegetables and lean meat.
In this way, you will be able to stay healthy by making your fast foods nutritious and you can eat them without any guilt.
Here's how you can make your fast foods healthy.
1. Whole grain bread for sandwiches
Whole grains are healthier than refined grains, they lower the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and colon cancer. Whole grains are rich in fibre, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that contribute to most of its health benefits . Examples of whole grains are whole wheat, oats, barley, rye and brown rice.
- Use whole grain bread to make healthy sandwiches.
- If it's a vegetarian sandwich, use fresh fruits and vegetables such as cucumber, tomato, onion, lettuce and to make it more nutritious and healthy you can add sprouts.
- If you are preparing a non-vegetarian sandwich, use cooked skinless boneless chicken breasts and top it up with some veggies.
2. Whole wheat buns for burgers
Instead of going to a fast-food outlet to gorge on a burger that is made with unhealthy ingredients, you can easily make your own vegetarian or non-vegetarian burger at home. You just need some whole wheat buns and few nutritious ingredients.
- Use whole wheat buns, lean meat and low-fat condiments such as pesto (made with fresh basil leaves, olive oil, pine nuts and parmesan cheese), mustard, and tahini sauce (made from ground sesame seeds).
- If making a vegetarian burger, prepare the patty with broken wheat (dalia), carrots, beetroot, mushrooms and cottage cheese with low-fat condiments.
3. Sautéed chicken for salads
Swap your crispy fried chicken with sautéed chicken while preparing your chicken salad. Foods that have been deep fried in oil can be bad for your health , so why not opt for sautéed boneless chicken breast as it is much healthier and it isn't deep fried.
- Use skinless, boneless chicken breast that has been sautéed in olive oil and use low-fat condiments for salad dressing.
4. Whole wheat crust for pizza
From kids to adults, everyone loves pizza and while the pizza found at a fast food restaurant can be quite tempting to resist, you can easily make your own healthy pizza at home and satisfy your taste buds. Instead of buying a store-bought pizza crust, you can make your own whole wheat pizza crust at home.
- Prepare your own whole wheat pizza crust and top it with pesto sauce or home-made tomato sauce.
- Use low-fat cheese such as cheddar or mozzarella cheese.
- Use fresh vegetable toppings such as tomato, mushrooms, black olives, zucchini, bell pepper and onions. And for meat toppings prefer lean meat.
5. Baked potato wedges
Consumption of French fries, a popular fast food can pose a major health risk. Studies have shown that French fries and fried potatoes are loaded with trans fat and added salt, which may elevate the risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease .
Instead of consuming French fries or fried potatoes, go for baked potatoes because studies have shown that loss of vitamin C is lower when potatoes are baked, sautéed and microwaved .
- Toss a few sliced potatoes in olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper and bake it.
- You can chop up some fresh herbs and sprinkle on it to make it healthier.
Note: Consume baked potato in moderation.
6. Fresh fruit smoothies
Fruit smoothies are a great alternative to soda-based drinks as the latter provide zero nutritional value and added sugar which are harmful to your health. Instead, make your own fruit smoothie at home that involves using fresh fruits, plain yogurt, low-fat milk and ice-cream.
- Use fresh fruits such as banana, mango, strawberry, grapes, blueberry or any other fruits of your choice.
- Use plain yogurt instead of flavoured yogurt.
7. Whole wheat tortillas for tacos
Fast food tacos are packed full of calories and fat, however, you can make your tacos at home with whole wheat tortilla and fresh, nutritious ingredients.
- Make your own whole grain tortillas and use lean meat and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes, onion, avocado and some shredded cheese and guacamole (avocado dip) as a topping.
Your favourite fast foods are loaded with unhealthy fats and are high in sodium and calories which can increase the risk of chronic diseases. So, in order to prevent yourself from diseases and lead a healthy life, it is important to switch to healthy fast foods that you can easily make at home with healthy ingredients.