Happy Meals aren't so happy; a typical fast-food burger can set you back more than 1,200 calories and 87 grams of fat. (That translates to more fat than you’ll find in a single tub of ice cream!) Plus, the average fast-food meal is loaded with sodium. “The high salt content in fast food poses a huge health threat, especially for women, because it can cause bone mineral loss,” says Christine Avanti, C.N., author of Skinny Chicks Don’t Eat Salads (Rodale). “Too much sodium can also contribute to hypertension, asthma and kidney stones.” But before you resign yourself to a life without burgers and fries, read on. A few simple swaps can turn your flame-broiled, deep-fried favorites into healthy eats—without sacrificing sighs of delight.
FAST-FOOD FAVORITE: FRENCH FRIES
Instead of just plain old spuds, this upgrade adds sweet
potatoes and parsnips to the mix for extra vitamin
C, vitamin A and fiber (psst! keeping the peel on the
potatoes locks in even more nutrients). They may not
be deep-fried, but soaking the taters in water first and
dipping ’em in egg whites up the crispy factor. Truffle oil,
fresh herbs and grated Parmesan add a gourmet touch.
THE FIX + Triple Threat Cheesy Herb Fries
PREP: 1 hr. 45 min. COOK: 40 min. SERVES 4
1 large russet potato, washed
1 large sweet potato, washed
1 large parsnip, washed and peeled
2 egg whites
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon dried basil
1∕3 cup fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons truffle oil
1. Cut potatoes and parsnip lengthwise into ¼-inch-thick
strips, 3 to 4 inches long. Soak in a large bowl of cold
water for 30 to 60 minutes (this gets rid of the starch and
maximizes crispiness) and rinse until water runs clear. Place
the strips between kitchen towels and pat dry.
2. Preheat oven to 425° F. Spray 2 baking sheets with canola
oil and place in the oven for 5 minutes. In a large bowl, whisk
together egg whites and salt. Add potatoes; toss to coat.
3. Place potatoes and parsnips in single layer on the
prepared baking sheets, making sure not to overcrowd.
Bake until crisp and golden brown, about 35 to 40 minutes,
turning the potatoes and parsnips every 10 minutes and
rotating the racks halfway through baking.
4. While fries are baking, combine basil, parsley, Parmesan
and truffle oil in a large bowl. Add baked fries, toss to coat
and serve immediately.
Per serving: 230 calories, 8.5 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 5 mg
cholesterol, 7 g protein, 33 g carbohydrates, 5.5 g fiber, 438