Some days I’m perfectly content eating a bunch of veggies, but when all I want is the familiar comfort of my favorite fast foods I find myself in a pickle. A new study finds that eating such “ultra-processed foods” loaded with salt, sugar, oil, and other additives (including flavor and color enhancers) could shorten your lifespan. And I know from experience that the aftermath of giving in to the drive-through will be a stomach ache at the least. Fortunately, making healthier fast foods at home has never been easier.
As great as they taste, Taco Bell’s Crunchwrap Supreme, McDonald’s Big Mac, KFC’s Popcorn Nuggets, and other fast foods are not great for you. To satisfy my cravings for fast food, I head to the grocery store and gather what I need to make healthier versions right at home. I promise they’re just as finger lickin’ good.
Skip the ultra-processed junk by making your own healthier fast foods
1. Crunchwrap Supreme, Taco Bell
This Crunchwrap Supreme doesn’t need to be loaded with beef and cheese to taste amazing. You’ll find ingredients like sofritas tofu, tangy marinated cabbage, black beans, and cashew queso.
Believe it or not, this ultra-savory McMuffin is filled with an egg patty made of chickpea flour and tofu. The sausage patty is made of tempeh.
These copycat In-N-Out burgers use protein-packed black bean patties and master the beloved taste of the iconic creamy spread using cashews.
4. Popcorn Nuggets, KFC
What’s not to love about popcorn chicken? To make a batch, try this recipe that uses soy instead. It can be baked instead of fried to make it even healthier.
You can get that same great taste of a classic Wendy’s Frosty with the help of bananas, honey, vanilla, cacao powder, and coconut milk.
6. Chicken McNuggets, Chicken McNuggets
McNuggets don’t even stand a chance against this version made from vital wheat gluten and plenty of spices. Especially since a study from the American Journal of Medicine found the nuggets from two national food chains mostly contained fat, bones, nerves, and connective tissue—not chicken meat. Eww, much?
7. Orange Chicken, Panda Express
The most important part of making the perfect copycat orange chicken is the sauce, and this version nails it. Plus, the cauliflower bites slathered in it are out of this world.
8. Big Mac, McDonald’s
You can’t have a healthier fast food roundup without a Big Mac. These patties are made from black beans and rice and are topped with a nearly-identical vegan sauce.
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