From McDonald’s, Burger King, Pizza Hut, and KFC to PF Chang’s, Dunkin Donuts, and Taco Bell, temptation awaits around every corner.
Despite recent additions and alterations to menus, fast food remains a flat belly nightmare. We know the food is shortening our lives and expanding our waistlines, and yet, every day 9.6 million Americans visits one of these chains. That’s why we’ve rounded up 20 recipes that flawlessly mimic the guilty parties, but won’t leave you with high cholesterol and rolls of belly fat. You’re welcome.
1. CHICKEN NUGGETS
Nutrition: 258 calories, 14.1 g fat (2.2 g saturated), 65 mg sodium, 8.7 g carbs, 2.4 g fiber, <1 g sugar, 24.5 g protein (calculated without salt)
These golden nuggets are crusted with almonds, one of the best nuts for a lower BMI. In fact, a 2003 study demonstrated that munching on these nuts gave dieters left dieters more satisfied and less likely to overeat, thus increasing weight loss. To start losing weight today, check out these 10 Genius Tips to Lose 10 Pounds!
Get the recipe from Gimme Some Oven.
2. CHEESEBURGER SLIDERS
Nutrition: 267 calories, 11 g fat (5.3 g saturated), 328 mg sodium, 15 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 3.3 g sugar, 25.5 g protein (calculated without butter and salt)
Cheeseburgers are like the epitome of fast food. But a typical order from your local fast food chain can take a serious hit on your nutritional bank, withdrawing scary amounts of calories and saturated fats. Next time you find yourself craving a juicy burger (or two), make these instead. Just make sure to opt for grass-fed beef. It’s naturally leaner, has fewer calories and contains higher levels of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
Get the recipe from Savory Simple.
3. CHEDDAR, RANCH, CHICKEN&BACON MELT
Nutrition: 462 calories, 15.4 g fat (5.5 g saturated), 703 mg sodium, 24.6 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 3.9 g sugar, 54.7 g protein (calculated with 1 oz cheddar)
Despite their claim to fame, Subway’s version isn’t gonna help you drop a pants size. In fact, with 610 calories, 30 grams of fat and 1290 milligrams of sodium, it’s more likely to leave you unbuttoning your jeans. Skip the questionable ingredients and expanding waistline, and make this version at home instead.
Get the recipe from Real Food By Dad.
4. FRENCH FRIES
Nutrition: 202 calories, 7.2 g fat (1 g saturated), 11 mg sodium, 32.3 g carbs, 4.1 g fiber, 1.4 g sugar, 3.7 g protein
One serving of these potato wedges contains 61% of your daily vitamin C quota, a vitamin that keeps more than the occasional sniffles away. In fact, C has also been shown to elevate mood and counteract the stress hormones that leave you feeling tense and trigger the storage of belly fat. And to blast even more fat—and shrink your belly in just 7 days—click here for The Best Tea to Melt Fat—Fast. Test panelists lost 10 pounds in one week!
Get the recipe from To Her Core.
5. EGG MCMUFFIN
Nutrition:237 calories, 9.9 g fat (4.2 g saturated), 492 mg sodium, 27 g carbs, 8 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 18.4 g protein (calculated with reduced sodium ham)
Save 60 calories and 237 milligrams of sodium when you spend 10 minutes in your kitchen making this sandwich instead of 10 minutes in the drive-through line. Plus, this recipe got 8 grams of belly-slimming fiber, keeping you fuller longer.
Get the recipe from Real Advice Gal.
6. CINNAMON SUGAR PRETZEL BITES
Nutrition: 258 calories, 11.4 g fat (5 g saturated), 445 mg sodium, 33.3 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 13.3 g sugar, 6.2 g protein
One order of cinnamon sugar pretzel nuggets from Auntie Annies has a whopping 99 grams of carbs—that’s nearly half a day’s worth! Whipping up this recipe saves you over 200 calories, 22 grams of sugar and 66 grams of carbs. Carbaholic? Check out The 20 Best Carbs for a Flat Belly.
Get the recipe from Love From the Oven.
7. MOZZARELLA STICKS
Nutrition: 98 calories, 5.5 g fat (3.1 g saturated), 213 mg sodium, 5.4 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 7.1 g protein
Mozzarella sticks and body goals make one contradictory couple. But with just 98 calories and 5.4 carbs, these mouthwatering golden breaded cheese sticks fit flawlessly into any diet.
Get the recipe from Creme de la Crumb.
8. CINNAMON ROLLS
Nutrition: 250 calories, 6.2 g fat (3 g saturated), 293 mg sodium, 42.2 g carbs, 2.7 g fiber, 3.4 g sugar, 5.2 g protein (calculated with whole wheat pastry dough and stevia bakeable blend)
One order of cinnamon rolls from McDonald’s Menu contains 460 calories, 19 grams of fat, 66 grams of carbs and 32 grams of sugar. This recipe nearly slashes that nutritional profile in half. Most notably, the sugar content goes from 34 grams to 3.4 grams. According to findings in a 2015 article in Nutrition Review, added sugars are associated with a poorer overall diet and lower intake of micronutrients. Definitely not the way to start off your day. Got a morning sweet tooth? Make for these instead!
Get the recipe from Seven Spoons.
9. CHOCOLATE SHAKE
Nutrition: 151 calories, 8.5 g fat (2 g saturated), 17.5 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 10.5 g sugar, 3.5 g protein
Skip the Frostie and blend this waist-whittling shake instead. Just make sure to opt for unripe bananas, which are rich in resistant starch. When we ingest foods that resist digestion, the gut produces healthy bacteria, leading to lowered appetite and more efficient fat oxidation. In fact, one study found that replacing just 5 percent of the day’s carbohydrates with a source of resistant starch can boost post-meal fat burn by up to 30 percent! To find out what else the yellow superfruit can do, check out these 7 Amazing Things Bananas Do to Your Body.
Get the recipe from Minimalist Baker.
10. CHICKEN BISCUIT SANDWICHES
Nutrition: 202 calories, 11.4 g fat (6.5 g saturated), 137 mg sodium, 15 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 2.5 g sugar, 9.5 g protein (calculated without salt)
These chicken biscuit sandwiches are just 202 calories and 137 mg of sodium per sandwich. That’s half the calories and 1000 milligrams less of sodium than Mickey D’s version. Although an essential mineral, excess sodium cause water retention (AKA bloat) and high blood pressure.
Get the recipe from The Baker Mama.
11. PEPPERONI PIZZA
Nutrition: 298 calories, 5.3 g fat (2 g saturated), 293 mg sodium, 47.8 g carbs, 2.4 g fiber, 6.7 g sugar, 13.6 g protein (calculated with ½ cup part-skim mozzarella, 1 cup organic tomato sauce, ¼ cup pepperoni, and no salt)
We doubt Pizza Hut will show you how flawlessly greek yogurt blends into pizza dough, packing in protein, calcium, and vitamin D—but this recipe will. Thank the Greek Gods for this one.
Get the recipe from The Baker Mama.
12. ONION RINGS
Nutrition: 234 calories, 3.4 g fat ( 0 g saturated), 77 mg sodium, 45.9 g carbs, 7 g fiber, 2.8 g sugar, 7.5 g protein
In just a small order of Burger King’s Golden Onion Rings, there are 320 calories, 16 grams of fat and 840 milligrams of sodium. Baked instead of fried, this version has all the flavor of BKs without the excess calories, saturated fat and salt.
Get the recipe from One Ingredient Chef.
13. KRISPY KREME DOUGHNUTS
Nutrition: 133 calories, 5.7 g fat (0.7 g saturated), 92 mg sodium, 19.1 g carbs, 2.8 g fiber, 8.4 g sugar, 3.2 g protein
Sugar coated white bleached flour—is it any wonder donuts are a weight loss foul? They’re completely nutrient void and calorie laden. However, research suggests that occasional indulging actually fosters diet success. So next time you’re tempted, make your own. It only takes 15 minutes (about the time it would take you to drive to the local KK and back)!
Get the recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie.
14. TATER TOTS
Nutrition: 127 calories, 10.7 g fat (6 g saturated), 64 mg sodium, 3.2 g carbs, 1.2 g fiber, 1.3 g sugar, 5 g protein
Cauliflower is an incredibly versatile vegetable that can be swapped into everything from mac and cheese, mashed potatoes and rice to these tots! And don’t sweat the fat content. It comes from coconut oil, a superfood that breaks down into energy more easily than other fats, aiding in weight loss. Bonus: One serving fills 60% of daily vitamin C requirements.
Get the recipe from I Breathe I’m Hungry.
15. SPRING ROLLS
Nutrition: 324 calories, 8.2 g fat (2.2 g saturated), 350 mg sodium, 28.6 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 10 g sugar, 30 g protein (calculated without salt)
Chewy, crunchy and fresh may not be three words that come to mind when you think of your typical spring roll (at least not the ladder). However, these rolls are just that. Crunchy chicken, juicy mango, refreshing cucumber, crispy lettuce, cilantro, and lime all wrapped up inside rice paper wrappers. With just over 300 calories and 30 grams of satiating protein per serving, need we say more?
Get the recipe from How Sweet Eats.
16. CHICKEN QUESADILLA
Nutrition: 334 calories, 14.4 g sat (6.7 g saturated), 539 mg sodium, 18 g carbs, 7.4 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 24.6 g protein
Before you decide to substitute fat-free cheese, consider this: In a 2013 European Journal of Nutrition research review, 11 of the 16 observational studies included found that participants who consumed more high-fat dairy products either weighed less or gained less weight over time than their counterparts who didn’t consume fat-laden dairy.
Get the recipe from Creme de la Crumb .
17. POTATO SKINS
Nutrition: 295 calories, 10 g fat (5 g saturated), 161 mg sodium, 40.5 g carbs, 9.4 g fiber, 4.6 g sugar, 12.8 g protein (calculated with greek yogurt in place of sour cream)
These potato skins pack in 97% of daily recommendations for vitamin A, a nutrient that aids immune function, vision, reproduction and cellular communication. And these aren’t your typical spuds. All hail the sweet potato, serving up nearly 13 grams of satiety-boosting protein and 35 percent of the day’s belly-filling fiber. For more ways to eat this weight loss superspud, check out these sweet potato recipes!
Get the recipe from Pinch of Yum.
18. MAC AND CHEESE
Nutrition: 266 calories, 15.3 g fat (7.5 g saturated), 198 mg sodium, 21 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 2.5 g sugar, 12.2 g protein
Getting kids to eat vegetables is no small feat (and some adults). That’s why we love this guilt-free mac and cheese that sneaks in cauliflower for extra nutrients and crunch, and a lowered carb count!
Get the recipe from Damn Delicious.
19. CHEESE FRIES
Nutrition: 176 calories, 3.7 g fat, 223 mg sodium, 31 g carbs, 5 g fiber, 2.7 g sugar, 6 g protein (calculated without extra salt and reduced fat cheddar)
Cheese fries—is there anything more flat belly forbidden? Luckily this recipe calls for calorie-scorching paprika and fat-sizzling coconut oil, and it’s got under 200 calories and just 3.7 grams of fat!
Get the recipe from Pinch of Yum.
20. SESAME CHICKEN
Nutrition: 200 calories, 6.6 g fat (1.8 g saturated), 153 mg sodium, 11.7 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 7.4 g sugar, 24 g protein
If you frequent the local PF Changs and order the sesame chicken, you’re looking at 890 calories, a whopping 82 grams of carbs, and an entire day’s worth of sodium in one meal (2250 mg). This recipe offers the same flavors and nutrients for a fourth of the calories, 14% of the carbs and 6% of the sodium. For a closer look into your favorite quick grub spots, check out these 25 Things Fast Food Chains Don’t Want You to Know.
Get the recipe from Running to the Kitchen.
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