Healthier Fast Food
With a little creativity and experimentation, you can create your own healthier versions of fast food at home that are just as tasty and satisfying as the originals!
While healthy fast food might seem like an oxymoron, it’s 100% possible to make homemade versions of some of your fast food favorites that are slightly healthier and taste just as delicious! I get it. It’s not realistic to completely cut unhealthy food out of your diet, even fast food. Every now and then you just want those crispy fries from McDonald’s or a delicious Frosty from Wendy’s. Being able to make healthier versions of these recipes at home when the craving hits is a huge win!
When I was a kid my family consumed large amounts of fast food. And I mean large amounts. We’re talkin’ Arby’s roast beef sandwiches and curly fries, Long John Silver’s hushpuppies, and Dairy Queen Blizzards. We had Taco Bell Chicken Tacos, Kentucky Fried Chicken biscuits and gravy, Burger King Onion Rings. And don’t forget McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets with honey mustard dipping sauce and hot apple pies…the list goes on.
While I do have many childhood memories eating at these fast food joints on road trips or after church on Sundays, we’ve never taken our kids out for fast food, and we try to keep junk food in the house to a minimum. However, I don’t want to deprive my kids (or myself for that matter) of some of my all time favorite foods. Instead of completely axing all that crispy, crunchy, creamy (and mostly filled with crap) fare, I’ve made it a mission to remake some of them in a more healthful fashion.
Why Make Fast Food at Home?
- It’s Healthier – fast food meals are typically high in calories, fat, and sodium, and lack important nutrients. By making homemade versions of fast food recipes, you can control the ingredients and make healthier choices. You can use leaner protein sources, whole grains, and more vegetables. This can help you maintain a healthy and balanced diet, while still enjoying your favorite fast food flavors.
- It’s Cheaper – Going out to dinner, even when it’s fast food, adds up. Eating at home is 9 times out of 10 going to be cheaper than eating out. Making your favorite fast food recipes at home will reduce your food expenses over time.
- It’s Customizable: When you make your own homemade versions of fast food recipes, you have the flexibility to customize the meal to your liking. You can add extra vegetables, adjust the seasoning, or add more or less of a certain ingredient to suit your taste preferences.
Make These Healthier Versions of Fast Food Favorites
Love McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets? Try these:
Pin Easy Chicken Nuggets These are nearly identical to Chicken McNuggets and made with real chicken breasts at home. No more wondering what’s in your chicken nuggets because you made them yourself! View RecipePin Baked Chicken Nuggets Baked Chicken Nuggets aren’t doused in oil and deep fried already making them much better for you than their fast food counterparts. They’re just as crispy and delicious though! View RecipePin Chicken on a Stick I’m not sure if there’s a fast food joint where you can get Chicken on a Stick, but no need anyway because you can make it at home! Food on a stick is just more fun, right? View Recipe
Greasy fast food burger craving? These hit the spot:
Pin Easy Cheeseburger Sliders This recipe truly couldn’t be easier to make and is ready in under 30 minutes! Plus, they taste just like White Castle sliders – 100% delicious! View RecipePin Middle Eastern Chicken Burgers Opting for a leaner meat like ground chicken is a healthy alternative to a greasy fast food burger. These Middle Eastern inspired chicken burgers are SO good! View RecipePin The Best Turkey Burger These classic Ground Turkey Burger’s are a family favorite and super simple to make. Not to mention super juicy, delicious and a secret ingredient for added nutrition. View RecipePin Shroom Burgers These Vegetarian Shroom Burgers will rock your world and are a homemade version of Shake Shack’s Shroom Burger! A crispy portobello mushroom with loads of cheese? YUM! View Recipe
Instead of those deep fried french fries, opt for these:
Pin Air Fryer French Fries Fries in the deep fryer have tons of excess oil that you just don’t need. Air Fryer French Fries come out super crispy without all that extra oil. View RecipePin Oven Baked Fries If you don’t have an air fryer, no problem! Oven Baked Fries are crispy on the outside, tender on the inside and much better for you than ones that got tossed into a deep fryer. View RecipePin Sweet Potato Fries For some added nutrition, go for some sweet potatoes fries! They’re high in beta-carotene and also rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals. A great replacement for greasy fast food fries! View RecipePin Crispy Onion Rings I loved onion rings at fast food restaurants growing up. These are baked and not doused in tons of oil making them healthier for you but just as crispy, crunchy and yummy! View Recipe
Got a hankering for a Sonic corn dog? Go for these!
Pin Corn Dog Muffin Bites There’s nothing better than a crispy corn dog, and these Corn Dog Muffins scratch that itch! They’re perfect for little hands and anything on a stick is a blast to eat! View RecipePin Cheesy Pizza Hot Dogs Similar to pigs in a blanket with a delicious cheesy twist! Cheesy Pizza Hot Dogs are a kids dream and baked to perfection. View Recipe
Wanting a big dish of Panda Express? Make these:
Pin Orange Chicken Homemade Orange Chicken is just as good as what you can get at a fast food place and better for you! Plus some added veggies take up the health factor a notch. View RecipePin Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry Beef and Broccoli is another classic dish at Chinese fast food restaurants. Again, making anything at home is going to be better for you in the long run because you know exactly what you’re putting in it! View RecipePin Shiitake Veggie Stir Fry Shiitake Veggie Stir Fry is a vegetable explosion bursting with flavor! This recipe is a great one to make when you’re craving takeout and want something super healthy. View Recipe
Instead of Taco Bell’s Crunchwrap Supreme:
Pin Vegetarian Crunchwrap Supreme My vegetarian son came up with this version of a crunchwrap supreme using tofu! It’s delicious and super good for you! View RecipePin Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas When you’re craving an enchilada from taco bell, these Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchilada is the perfect choice! Packed with plant based protein and delicious! View Recipe
To satisfy your Long John Silver’s fried fish craving:
Pin Crispy Fish Fingers Fried fish is one of the best things ever! This version is baked instead of deep fried like what you’ll find at fast food places. So good! View RecipePin Salmon Burgers Craving fish and want to keep it healthy? These Salmon Burgers are the perfect choice. Salmon is a great source of omega-3 which helps keep your brain healthy. View Recipe
Make these to replace fast food desserts:
Pin Chocolate Banana Nice Cream Chocolate Banana Nice Cream is a great option when you’re craving a Frosty! It’s creamy, delicious and naturally sweet! View RecipePin Apple Pie Turnovers Apple Pie Turnovers are a homemade version of McDonald’s hot apple pies and are just as tasty! Plus these are a fun activity to get kids involved in the kitchen. View RecipePin Vanilla Cinnamon Date Shake Vanilla Cinnamon Date shakes are like a milkshake, but healthy! Only a few ingredients and uses dates to make it naturally sweet. View Recipe
If you have a beloved fast food or junk food favorite that you’d like to see reinvented here on Weelicious, let me know what it is in the comment section below and I can try putting a healthier twist on it! Or tag me on social media 🙂