If you feel that cooking healthy takes too much time, costs too much money, or just doesn’t taste that good then sadly, you’ve been misinformed. While you are waiting in line at the drive-through window or at the restaurant table you could have easily whipped up a recipe. You could have taken pride in creating something that provided more nutrition, cost you less down the road (pay now or pay your doctor later), and most likely left you with leftovers so you are all set tomorrow! It’s all a matter of refocusing your current thinking about healthy food.
When you’re in a rush, that dollar menu seems like a good value; however, as we all know, you get what you pay for. So, yes – you get A LOT for $1 when you get a McChicken®, but when I say a lot, I mean a lot of extra junk. After looking at the ingredients below, you couldn’t PAY me $1,000 worth of McChickens® to eat one.
McChicken® ingredients: McChicken® Patty, Regular Bun, Mayonnaise Dressing, Lettuce
Ok… that’s not so bad, right? But remember:
McChicken® Patty: Chicken, water, salt, sodium phosphates. Battered and breaded with: bleached wheat flour, water, wheat flour, food starch-modified, salt, spices, wheat gluten, paprika, dextrose, yeast, garlic powder, partially hydrogenated soybean oil and cottonseed oil with mono -and diglycerides, leavening (sodium acid pyrophosphate, baking soda, ammonium bicarbonate, monocalcium phosphate), natural flavor (plant source) with extractives of paprika. Prepared in vegetable oil (Canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil with TBHQ and citric acid added to preserve freshness).
Dimethylpolysiloxane added as an antifoaming agent. mmmm foaming agent. I’m not loving it.
Regular bun: Enriched flour (bleached wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), water, whole wheat flour, high fructose corn syrup, honey, wheat gluten, contains 2% or less of the following: yeast, soybean oil, maltodextrin (dietary fiber), salt, calcium sulfate, dough conditioners (wheat flour, datem, ascorbic acid, azodicarbonamide, sodium stearoyl lactylate, mono and diglycerides, enzymes, calcium peroxide), ammonium sulfate, natural flavor (botanical
source), calcium propionate (preservative), vitamin D3, rolled wheat (topping).
Mayonnaise Dressing: Water, soybean oil, distilled vinegar, maltodextrin, food starch-modified, enzyme modified egg yolk, salt, sugar, xanthan gum, mustard flour, potassium sorbate (preservative), lemon juice concentrate, polysorbate 80, natural flavor (animal source), calcium disodium EDTA to protect flavor, beta carotene (color).
The point here is to take a step back and use that big ol’ brain of yours a little. You don’t need to understand much about nutrition to realize that whole, real foods make a better choice than a list of additives any day. Even if the food tastes delicious and is fast and cheap, it will slow you down in the long run when it comes to your health and goals.
There is hope! Taking control over what you put in your body starts in the kitchen. It doesn’t have to be difficult, boring, or costly. Here are a few swaps that will help you rock your kitchen in no time!
|Instead of:||Try this:|
|Coffee creamer||Coconut oil or coconut milk in coffee, easy creamer recipe|
|Latte||Pumpkin spice latte|
|Granola/cereal||Mixture of chopped nuts, dried fruit, fresh fruit, cinnamon, coconut milk|
|Pancakes||Banana bread pancakes|
|Egg McMuffin®||Egg muffins or a poached egg over a slider|
|Muffins||Home-made bars or muffins|
|Prepared fruit juice or highly sugared smoothie recipe||Blueberry coconut milk smoothie|
|Corned beef and hash||Root vegetable hash & poached egg|
|Berries and cream||Berries + coconut whipped cream|
|Standard factory processed bacon/sausage||Pastured, high quality bacon/sausage|
|Instead of:||Try this:|
|French fries||Sweet potato fries|
|Potato chips||Kale chips|
|Bread for sandwiches||Lettuce leafs, coconut wraps, nut flour bread, nori sheets, portabella mushrooms, cucumber slices|
|Peanut butter||Nut butter (almond, cashew, macadamia nut), sunflower seed butter|
|Salad dressing||Olive oil/avocado oil/coconut oil + vinegar of choice/lemon /lime juice or other vinaigrettes|
|Traditional tuna or chicken salad||Tuna or chicken salad with paleo mayo or mixed with guacamole|
|Hot pockets||Pizza muffins|
|Teriyaki chicken||Chicken breast pieces with ‘peanut sauce’ dip|
|Instead of:||Try this:|
|Pizza||Meatza! or Cauliflower crust pizza or pizza with a nut-flour crust|
|Traditional meatloaf||Paleo meatloaf|
|Recipes that call for breadcrumbs||Almond meal, nut flours, crushed nuts|
|Pasta||Baked spaghetti squash (add ground meat of choice + marinara on top)
Or julienne slices of zucchini or sweet potatoes
|Lasagna noodles||Sliced eggplant, butternut squash, or zucchini|
|Soy sauce||Coconut aminos|
|Mashed potatoes||Mashed cauliflower, sweet potatoes, or turnips|
|Tacos||Lettuce boats with ground beef, spices, and toppings|
|Chicken tenders/fish sticks||Coconut or almond crusted chicken or fish|
|Chili with beans||Chili verde|
|Standard shepherd’s pie||Paleo shepherd’s pie|
|Sloppy joe from a can||Crock-pot bbq beef|
|Chips and Dip||Jicama slices, carrots, celery, tomatoes + guacamole or Baba-Ghanoush|
|Granola bar||Fruit roll-ups or home-made bar|
|Store bought highly processed jerky||Home-made jerky|
|Popcorn||Caramelized coconut flakes|
|Spicy crunchy snacks||Almonds baked with spices|
|Sweet, rich snacks||Coconut butter or other nut butters|
|Traditional fruit dip||Chocolate coconut milk fruit dip|
|String cheese||Deli turkey wrapped around a layer of guacamole|
The most important thing to remember is to have fun and be open-minded. Sure, cauliflower rice isn’t going to taste exactly like white rice, but does it really matter? Instead of comparing one substitution to another, look at the new option as it’s own unique food. You may (and probably will) find that you like the swaps even more than your original stand-by! We all get comfortable and get stuck in a rut eating the same meals each week. These substitutions will spice up your routine and offer you the nutrients you need to fuel you through your week. No more excuses! Don’t be boring, get out there and try something new today!
*McChicken information available: http://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en/food/food_quality/nutrition_choices.html