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Healthier Versions of Your Favorite Fast Food That You Can Make at Home

Healthy Food, Fast

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Yes, National Fast Food Day is a real thing! Add a twist to the occasion and make these tasty and healthy versions at home instead. Rest assured, with healthier versions of chicken fingers, french fries, burgers, tacos, nachos, and yes, ice cream blizzards, this line-up here will satisfy everyone's sweet and salty cravings.

Photo: Pixaby

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream Blizzard

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This copycat Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream Blizzard has nearly half the calories and added sugar compared with the version at that fast-food chain. Not only do you get a hearty dose of protein from the deliciously creamy Halo Top Vanilla Bean Ice Cream (each pint has 24 grams), but you'll also get the decadent crunch from the raw chocolate chip "cookie dough." Double bonus, Halo Top has more than 5 grams of fiber per serving. With that, plus the secret ingredient (Shh, it's white beans) in the cookie dough, you'll be on your way to meeting your 25 to 38 grams reccomended per day.

Get the recipe: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Halo Top Ice Cream Blizzard

Photo: Shaw's Simple Swaps

Crispy Breaded Chicken Tenders

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Need a savory entrée before that sweet treat? Look no further than the oven-baked crispy chicken tenders. These delicious and nutritious tenders are a healthier twist on your traditional fried chicken and deliver that same satisfying crunch. Bonus, serve them with a side of homemade BBQ to pump up the cancer-fighting lycopene. (Use the leftover chicken to make one of these 10 quick and healthy chicken recipes for lunch.)

Get the recipe: Crispy Breaded Chicken Tenders

Photo: Healthy Seasonal Recipes

Egg McMuffin Breakfast Bar

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Sure, the 2 for $5 deal on the morning drive-through menu sounds alluring, but you can easily make breakfast sandwiches at home for half the price and calories. By whipping up your own you save a buck and you can also control the ingredients. This twist on the classic fast food breakfast not only offers you an extra serving of veggies in to start your day, but it also a hearty whole grain muffin to help keep you fuller for longer. Trust me, your tummy will thank you around 10 a.m.!

Get the recipe: Egg McMuffin Breakfast Bar

Photo: My Cape Cod Kitchen

BBQ Bison Burger

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Swap out your traditional beef burger for a leaner option, and I don't mean turkey. Bison is a great lean protein source that is significantly lower in fat than its beef counterpart. In a 3.5-ounce cooked portion, bison contains just 2.5 grams of fat, more than 3.4 milligrams of iron and 2.9 micrograms of vitamin B12. You'll love this burger because it's proof that you don't have to wait until the weekend to grill up a BBQ burger, and you'll feel even better knowing it's healthy, too. 

Get the recipe: BBQ Bison Burger

Photo: Aggie's Kitchen

Baked French Fries

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Everybody loves a handful of delicious, hot French fries. Save those empty calories and stock up on those bags of potatoes to whip your own up at home. These baked French fries will become a favorite in your home, and they taste delicious on their own, paired with the bison burger or chicken tenders—or even dipped into that homemade Blizzard just like you do with the fast-food chain dessert. 

Get the recipe: Baked French Fries

Photo: Living Well Kitchen

POM® Julep

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How many times have you seen those happy hour commercials on TV, luring you to try the latest discount sugar bomb combo meal at your local fast-food joint? Don't give in! Instead, stock up on polyphenol-powered POM 100% Pomegranate Juice and whip up this better-for-you POM Julep at home. It's nonalcoholic so your entire family can enjoy it, and it has no artificial ingredients. In fact, each 8-ounce bottle of POM Wonderful is simply the juice of two whole pomegranates and is a good source of potassium. Cheers to that! (Discover other ways to cook with pomegrantae this holiday season with these tasty recipe ideas.)

Get the recipe: POM Julep

Photo: POM Wonderful

Cheesy Beef Tacos

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I love a great Taco Tuesday deal just as much as the next person. But did you know that when you pick up a fast food taco, you can easily be adding a serving or two of lard to your diet? Yep, traditional refined white tortillas can contain lard, a form of shortening that in excess can be harmful to your health. Nix the urge to go for the $1.99 taco and whip up these super Cheesy Beef Tacos at home. This recipe is full of flavor while sneaking in a serving or two of vegetables.

Get the recipe: Cheesy Beef Tacos

Photo: Homemade Nutrition

Protein-Packed Cheese and Hummus Quesadilla

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Think quesadillas can't be healthy? Think again. Pair calcium-rich sharp cheddar cheese with heart-healthy hummus and layer that between a whole-grain tortilla and you've got yourself a power-packed meal in no time. When you keep these staples stocked in your house it'll save you time, money, and sanity. No one wants to be waiting in that fast-food line after work. (Get even more quesadilla inspiration with these easy vegetarian recipes for healthy weekenight meals.)

Get the recipe: Protein-Packed Cheese and Hummus Quesadilla

Photo: Shaw's Simple Swaps

Layered Lentil Nachos

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Who doesn't love a delicious nacho supreme? As good as that liquid nacho cheese is, I get a little queasy thinking about what kind of preservatives used to help it stay "fresh" for years on end. Satisfy your nacho fix by making these hearty layered lentil nachos at home. Not only do you get a hefty dose of fiber, but you'll also rest easy knowing you can pronounce every single ingredient.

Get the recipe: Layered Lentil Nachos

Photo: Mom's Kitchen Handbook

Buffalo Chicken Wraps

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Wraps may seem like the healthier alternative to a burger, but beware. Wraps often are loaded with spreads, cheeses, and crispy fried chicken that can easily set you back over 1,000 calories and 20 grams of saturated fat in just one meal. "Eat the rainbow" by stuffing a whole-grain tortilla with healthy veggies and a lighter dressing, like this buffalo chicken wrap.

Get the recipe: Buffalo Chicken Wraps

Photo: Your Choice Nutrition

Kale Caesar Salad

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Sure, you think you're being "healthy" ordering that salad to go, but did you know the average fast-food Caesar salad can have more than 12 grams of saturated fat? Rest easy knowing that a culinary nutritionist has created an equally delicious but healthier alternative you can make at home. Her secret weapon: Greek yogurt and Dijon mustard.

Get the recipe: Kale Caesar Salad

Photo: Sara Haas

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