Eat This, Not That! Part 1: Fast Food


In this day and age very few of us have the time to spare to cook fresh, hearty meals every day. In recent years we, as a society, have accepted the fact that fast food offers convenience as a solution to this problem, however, a new problem has arisen: we have become too accustomed to fast food and, rather than consuming fast food to alleviate the convenience problem, we now eat fast food out of habit.

At my house we used to order fast food as a treat once per week. As time went by, the number of take-outs and fast-food meals we were consuming increased to four, five and sometimes six times per week, purely because both my partner and I work late and, by the time we get home, we couldn’t be bothered to cook.
It didn’t seem like a big deal at the time but, when I look back at the amount of saturated fat and sugar we were consuming, I realize just how scary it was.

For many of us, we just simply need to learn which foods are good for us and learn how to cook efficiently and that’s exactly what you will learn from this article.

Below are 5 of the most common fast-foods along with their great-tasting, easy-to-make homemade alternatives. Enjoy!




Ah, the mighty French fry. A portion of these bad boys goes with pretty much anything and are served as a side to most dishes in the majority of fast-food restaurants.
Sadly, the nutrients that existed when each fry was part of a boring old potato is lost when they’re deep fried in cancerous vegetable oil.

Additionally, restaurants typically use white potatoes for french fries. No potato is ‘bad’ for you, but white potatoes have been proven to convert to sugar more easily and quicker in the body than other types of potato. This sugar needs to be used for energy quickly to avoid being stored as fat.
By baking, rather than frying, you will significantly reduce your intake of fat and calories regardless of the type of potato used, however we will use sweet potato in this recipe because they are lower in calories and offer more fiber and vitamins. Plus they taste awesome!

If you’re interested in reading more about the lack of benefits of French fries, read this article from


How To Serve Up Some Scrumptious Sweet Potato Fries


Ingredients: Method:
  • Olive oil
  • 4 – 6 sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup black pepper
  • 1/4 cup garlic powder
  1. Peel (optional) and slice potatoes into 1/4-inch long fries.
  2. In a large bowl mix the olive oil, paprika, salt, pepper and garlic powder.
  3. Add the sweet potato fries to the bowl and toss well, ensuring they’re all coated well.
  4. Line a baking tray with oil or baking paper and add the sweet potato fries.
  5. Bake in a pre-heated oven on gas mark 8/230 degrees centigrade/450 degrees Fahrenheit for around 20 minutes or until the fries are golden, turning occasionally.





Don’t be fooled by the appearance of the lettuce and tomato, it doesn’t make a cheese burger good for you, and it certainly does not ‘cancel out’ the cheese!
Stating the obvious, turkey is a lot leaner than beef, therefore it has fewer calories. Whilst the cheese is an integral part of a cheese burger (duh!), it isn’t essential for a turkey burger. A single cheese slice can contain upwards of 100 calories and, if you’ve ever made your own burgers before, you know you don’t just add one slice. You might add two, plus you might gobble down another slice while you’re waiting for the burger to cook (it’s not just me, surely!). We can do without the added fat and calories so leave the cheese.

You can have one of these quick burgers prepared, cooked and eaten long before the delivery guy arrives so give the take-out menu a miss!
These burgers go great with the sweet potato fries from #1.


How To Whip Up A Simple Tasty Turkey Burger


Ingredients: Method:
  • Olive oil
  • 1 crushed garlic clove
  • 450g ground / minced turkey
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 30g breadcrumbs (optional)
  1. To a large mixing bowl add the turkey, garlic, salt, pepper, egg, half the parsley and breadcrumbs. Mix well until all ingredients are combined.
  2. Form burger shapes with the mixture. You should be able to make 4 burgers from this recipe.
  3. Add olive oil to hot frying pan and cook the burgers over a medium heat for approximately 5 – 6 minutes each side, or until they’re cooked through.
  4. Garnish with the remainder of the parsley.

Tip: Serve your burger in between lettuce leaves instead of a burgers bun and add a dollop of natural yoghurt rather than the usual ketchup, mustard or burger sauce for an even healthier low carb alternative.



Eat Chicken


The most recognizable and well-known chicken restaurant in the world is none other than the legendary KFC. Despite the fact that chicken is one of the most protein-packed foods around and is a staple part of any healthy diet, when a restaurant has ‘Fried’ in its name you know the food can’t possibly be healthy but we accept this so we can enjoy KFC’s finger-lickin’ chicken every now and then!

Jo from EveryNookAndCranny has created a very similar-tasting spice mix to KFC’s own secret blend of eleven herbs and spices, which I have detailed below. Include it as part of this recipe and you will have your very own healthy, homemade KFC-style chicken. Score!


How To Bake Your Own Healthy Finger-Lickin’ Chicken


Ingredients for the spice mix: Method for the spice mix:
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp celery salt
  • 1 tbsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tbsp mustard powder
  • 2 tbsp unsmoked paprika
  • 2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp chilli powder (optional – use to create the “Zinger” variety)
  1. Simply blend all the herbs and spices together. Store in an air-tight jar. Easy!
Ingredients for cooking the chicken: Method for cooking the chicken:
  • Chicken portions on the bone, or boneless chicken breasts for burgers
  • 2 x 100g Flour, for tossing the chicken in
  • 1 – 2 eggs, beaten
  • Milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Olive oil or a small amount of butter
  1. Jo recommends poaching on-the-bone chicken to tenderize it. To do this, add chicken portions to a large saucepan and add enough milk to fully submerge the chicken. Add some salt, pepper and the bay leaf. Bring to the boil then simmer for 10 – 15 minutes.
  2. Drain chicken and dry off completely.
  3. Add the chicken to one bowl of flour and toss.
  4. Remove the chicken then add it the bowl of beaten eggs and toss.
  5. Now, to the second bowl of flour add the spice mix then add the chicken and toss.
  6. Line a baking tray with foil or grease-proof paper. Add a little oil or butter (or don’t, to save calories!).
  7. Line the chicken on the tray and bake on gas mark 4/180 degrees centigrade/350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 – 30 minutes, turning half way through. The chicken should be cooked through and the coating will be crispy.


Eat Pizza


Pizza is probably the most popular fast food dish in the United States and the majority of the western world. It’s typically made fresh which means that some may not consider pizza a fast food, however, even the healthier options are usually still rammed with calories and fat owing to the dough and cheese base and it is for this reason that the pizza is included in this list.

For this homemade pizza you can buy and use a pre-made pizza base , however, this recipe includes creating your own base, which is virtually fat free and I highly recommend you include.

This recipe uses feta as it is a strong, sharp-tasting cheese which allows us to use less, thus saving on calories, but still remains cheesy, like any good pizza should!

A slice will yield around 300 calories and only 6 grams of fat.


How To Prepare The Perfect Healthy Greek Feta Pizza


Ingredients for the dough: Method for the dough:
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 pack active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup warm (not boiling) water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups bread flour (or wholewheat flour, for added nutrition)
  1. Combine the yeast and honey and dissolve in the warm water. Leave for a further 10 minutes until it becomes frothy.
  2. In a separate bowl combine the salt and flour and mix. Add the honey and yeast mixture. Mix well until dough bowls are formed.
  3. Sprinkle some flour over your workstation and then lay the dough mixture. Knead the dough mixture for several minutes until there are no lumps and the mixture becomes elastic.
  4. Allow the dough mixture to rise by storing it in a bowl in a warm, dry place for about one hour.
  5. Remove from bowl and lay on a floured surface. Roll out into a large circular shape. You should be able to roll into a 12″ – 14″ pizza base with a medium to thick crust.
Ingredients for the pizza: Method for the pizza:
  • Pizza base, as above
  • 1/2 cup marinara sauce
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved and broiled until softened
  • 1/2 cup cooked chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese
  • 8oz peeled shrimp
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano
  1. Spread marinara sauce evenly over the prepared pizza dough.
  2. Add the tomatoes and onion.
  3. Crumble the feta then sprinkle evenly.
  4. Add the shrimp.
  5. Bake in the oven on gas mark 8/230 degrees centigrade/450 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 – 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the base. The crust will be a golden color when cooked.
  6. Top with the fresh oregano and serve.



Eat Chinese


Sweet and sour chicken is one the most popular Chinese dishes (and is one of my favorites!). Whilst most foods you find in a Chinese restaurant is of the healthier variety, it’s the method of cooking that ruins it: almost everything is deep fried in fatty, artery-clogging oils and caked in copious amounts of salt and the sauces are packed with sugar.

This home made version of sweet and sour chicken uses a small amount of canola oil for cooking and the sauce is made without any added sugar.


Cook Up Some Healthy Chinese-Style Chicken With This Recipe


Ingredients: Method:
  • 200g cooked brown rice
  • 350g chicken fillets, cut into small pieces
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp apricot preserves
  • 250ml low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 can water chestnuts
  • Vegetables, such as peas, broccoli, peppers, etc.
  1. In a bowl whisk up the vinegar, soy sauce, cornstarch and apricot preserves and set aside for later use.
  2. In a deep frying pan, wok or skillet, heat 1 tbsp canola oil. Once hot, add the chicken and cook over a medium-high heat for 4 -5 minutes or until the chicken is just starting to brown on the outside. Remove the chicken from the pan.
  3. Add 1 tbsp canola oil to the pan, then add the garlic and ginger. Sauté for 30 seconds.
  4. Add the chicken broth to the pan and stir continuously.
  5. Add the vegetables and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover the pan and cook for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender but still crispy.
  6. Add the chestnuts and cooked chicken.
  7. Add the sauce from step 1.
  8. Stir continuously for 2 minutes, or until the sauce is thickened and the chicken is heated through.