Healthy Fast-Food Swaps: Breakfast, Burgers, and Beyond

May 22 2019
Question@2x Hi Lisa,

I’ve given up the drive-thru habit, but I’m still craving my fast-food favorites. Is there a healthy way to get my fix at home?

Drive-Thru Jackie
Answer@2x Hi Drive-Thru Jackie,

Yes, definitely! From burgers and fries to everything in between, I’ve got you covered with better-for-you swaps…

Instead of Egg McMuffins… Easy Freezy Breakfast Sandwiches

1/4th of recipe (1 sandwich): 214 calories, 4.5g total fat (2g sat fat), 588mg sodium, 28g carbs, 6.5g fiber, 2g sugars, 20.5g protein

FreestyleSmartPoints® value 5*

Enjoy the cheesy, ham & egg goodness you love without breaking the calorie bank. This McMuffin swap has only 5 main ingredients, and it’s so easy to make. Plus, you can whip these up ahead of time, and freeze ‘em for later. Total morning timesaver!

Instead of a Big Mac… Mac Attack Burger Bowl

Entire recipe: 316 calories, 12.5g total fat (4.5g sat fat), 833mg sodium, 19g carbs, 4.5g fiber, 11.5g sugars, 30.5g protein

FreestyleSmartPoints® value 7*

This satisfying burger bowl has less than HALF the fat & carbs of the triple-decker sandwich. Ditch the bun (who needs empty carbs, anyway?) and top shredded greens with extra-lean ground beef, cheddar, pickles, sesame seeds, and my spin on “special sauce.” So good!

Instead of Chicken Nuggets… Clean & Hungry Chicken Nuggets

1/2 of recipe (5 nuggets): 179 calories, 3g total fat (0.5g sat fat), 377mg sodium, 7.5g carbs, 1g fiber, 1g sugars, 28g protein

FreestyleSmartPoints® value 1*

Anyway you slice it, fried chicken is a calorie bomb. That’s why I like to faux-fry my chicken by coating it with seasoned panko and baking until crispy. (You can make it in an air fryer too!) Pair a serving of these nuggets with our next swap for a fast-food-style dinner under 300 calories!

Instead of French Fries… Totally Turnip Fries

1/2 of recipe: 96 calories, <0.5g total fat (0g sat fat), 373mg sodium, 22g carbs, 6g fiber, 13g sugars, 3g protein

FreestyleSmartPoints® value 0*

There are a slew of French fry swaps in the Hungry Girl arsenal (click for proof), but turnip fries taste the most like classic fast-food fries. With a similar taste and texture, these are baked not fried. For added crispiness, pop ‘em in your air fryer. And if you’re not ready to part with potato fries completely, try these Baked Potato 'n Turnip Fries.

Instead of Onion Rings… Clean & Hungry Onion Rings

1/2 of recipe (about 12 rings): 169 calories, 0.5g total fat (0g sat fat), 368mg sodium, 34g carbs, 4.5g fiber, 7g sugars, 7.5g protein

FreestyleSmartPoints® value 3*

Is a vegetable still a vegetable if you deep fry it? Technically yes, but this faux-fried spin on onion rings is a MUCH better choice than its deep-fried namesake. Perfectly crisp with a big ol’ serving size and a tiny calorie count… Just the way I like ‘em!

Instead of a Handheld Apple Pie… On-the-Go Apple Pie

1/6th of recipe (1 pie): 96 calories, 0.5g total fat (0g sat fat), 162mg sodium, 22.5g carbs, 1.5g fiber, 6.5g sugars, 2g protein

FreestyleSmartPoints® value 2*

You know the apple pies I’m talking about… The folks under the golden arches may have recently reformulated their recipe, but their pies still have more than double the calories of mine. I use egg roll wrappers instead of dough. This recipe is great with other fruits too!

Chew on this:

Happy National Vanilla Pudding Day, May 22nd! Frosting hack: Mix reduced-calorie pudding with real frosting to cut the calories in a major way, like we did with these Tie-Dye-For Cupcakes.

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SmartPoints® value* not what you expected? We follow the same method as WW (formerly known as Weight Watchers) when calculating the value of a recipe: We add up the SmartPoints® values* of the individual ingredients using the Recipe Builder, not the calculator. (Many foods have a value of zero and remain zero in recipes.)

*The SmartPoints® values for these products and/or recipes were calculated by Hungry Girl and are not an endorsement or approval of the product, recipe or its manufacturer or developer by WW International, Inc., the owner of the SmartPoints® trademark.