Fast food is an easy way to fill up, but it is far from easy on the waistline. Fast food is full of preservatives, unhealthy fats and oils, simple carbohydrates, added sugar, and calories. When consumed too often, fast food can lead to health issues.
So what are you supposed to do when you are hungry after a long, stressful day? Instead of reaching for fast food, we’ve put together a list of healthy fast food alternatives that are still convenient and easy to make. We’ve included breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and snack options so you always have a healthy meal or snack idea, no matter the time of day.
Healthy Fast Food Alternatives — Easy Breakfast Ideas
Breakfast is often deemed the most important meal of the day but mornings can be downright hectic. If you are tempted to grab fast food or skip breakfast altogether, try these healthy fast-food alternatives:
- Gluten-free blueberry breakfast muffins made with oat flour, almond flour, blueberries, and eggs. These muffins are perfect for busy mornings when you need a grab-and-go breakfast that is filling and healthy. You can even freeze these muffins for up to three months so you have breakfast made ahead of time. To learn more about the benefits of meal prepping, check out our Tips on Meal Prepping blog post.
- Breakfast burritos made with eggs, black beans, chopped bell peppers, avocados, salsa, and corn tortillas (these are a great freezer meal you can make ahead of time for busy mornings)
- An omelette packed with veggies such as spinach, asparagus, onion, asparagus, bell peppers, and mushrooms and topped with salsa and avocado. Omelettes are nutrient-dense, and filling, and come together in just minutes.
- A smoothie made with a few handfuls of spinach, frozen or fresh berries, a spoonful or two of avocado, unsweetened yoghurt
- Sprouted whole grain toast spread with almond butter, scrambled eggs, and a piece of fruit
- A high-quality protein bar or meal replacement shake
- A bowl of oatmeal topped with a handful of berries
- These healthy pancakes made with bananas and oatmeal are indulgent yet healthy — and easy to make on busy mornings.
- Scrambled eggs with avocado and a handful of berries
- Unsweetened yoghurt topped with berries and nuts
Healthy Fast Food Alternatives — Easy Lunch Ideas
Fast food lunches are often packed with unhealthy fats, added sugar, and calories. If you need healthy alternatives to fast food restaurants, check out these fast yet healthy lunch ideas:
- Tuna salad
- A whole grain pita stuffed with turkey, lettuce, avocado, and veggies
- A salad with diced boiled egg, pistachios, bell pepper, sunflower seeds, and any of your favourite veggie toppings
- A chicken breast lettuce wrap served with avocado and a side of fruit
- A quality protein shake
- A bowl of plain Greek yoghurt topped with fruit and nuts
- Fish or grilled chicken with a side of steamed sweet potato
- Grilled chicken with a side of brown rice and a non-starchy vegetable
- A veggie-filled bean soup with a slice of sprouted whole-grain bread on the side
- A smoothie featuring yoghurt, berries or ½ a banana, a scoop of nut butter, and a handful or two of spinach
Healthy Fast Food Alternatives — Fast Dinner Ideas
- Baked wild-caught salmon served with asparagus and a side of mashed cauliflower or mashed potatoes
- A bean or lentil-based soup packed with veggies (zucchini, onion, carrots, mushrooms, asparagus) and a piece of sprouted whole-grain toast on the side
- Veggie-filled lasagna featuring zucchini noodles, sugar-free tomato sauce, and lean meat or mushrooms (lasagna is a great make-ahead meal that you can freeze for an instant healthy dinner on busy nights)
- A salad featuring dark leafy greens and topped with nuts, bell pepper, sliced carrots, and diced boiled egg
- A lettuce wrap with a form of lean protein such as sliced turkey and a side of sweet potato fries
- Homemade pizza featuring a pre-made whole grain crust, mozzarella, sugar-free tomato sauce, and piled high with your favourite veggies (mushrooms, olives, bell peppers, onions, artichoke hearts). You can even experiment with toppings and try interesting options such as spinach, broccoli, or zucchini.
Healthy Fast Food Alternatives — The Best Easy Snacks
Here are some easy snacks you can eat as healthy alternatives to fast food:
- A banana topped with almond butter
- An apple or celery sticks with nut butter and a small cube of cheese
- A protein bar (pay careful attention to the ingredients to avoid bars that are packed with added sugar or preservatives)
- A protein shake
- Roasted chickpeas
- High-fibre crackers topped with hummus or nut butter
- Veggie chips or homemade kale chips
Healthy Fast Food Alternatives — The Best Healthy Dessert Ideas
If you are looking for a healthy fast food alternative, dessert can be a tough area to figure out. Look for indulgent foods that are naturally sweet and high in nutrients.
Here are some healthy dessert ideas to try:
- Homemade chia seed pudding
- Raw fudge brownies made with cocoa powder, walnuts, and dates
- A fruit salad topped with a dollop of coconut whipped cream
- Berries or apple slices dipped in melted dark chocolate
- A small bowl of yoghurt with a few dark chocolate chips and a handful of berries