Dumping Junk Foods


PHOTO COURTESY OF SILVIA RITA. With some simple substitutions, foods that are normally drenched in sugar and oils can become healthy favorites.

Anthan Wingate

    Obesity is an epidemic in America. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, the obesity rate in 2018 was 42.4%. Much of this stems from the fact that many Americans eat fast food like McDonald’s and Burger King frequently. One of the best ways to prevent obesity is to cook more meals at home; now that social distancing has everyone stuck in the house, it could be the perfect opportunity for people to sharpen their cooking skills. This article will provide a list of recipes that are healthy at-home alternatives for three common unhealthy foods: hamburgers, french fries, and brownies.

    Hamburgers are a staple of fast food. However, the hamburgers made from fast food restaurants are cooked in unhealthy oils and do not use quality meat. To make a healthy burger, start by getting the ingredients listed below.

  • 1 pound ground beef (ninety percent lean)
  • Avocado oil
  • Brioche buns or whole wheat buns
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • White onions
  • Cheddar cheese

    First, separate the pound of ground beef into thirds, making three sections of ground beef, each weighing about a third of a pound. Roll these sections of ground beef into balls and set them aside. Next, either dice the onions or cut them into circles. Chop the lettuce up into small pieces. Cut the tomatoes into circles as well. Now, get out a frying pan and the avocado oil. Drizzle the avocado oil onto the pan and turn the heat to medium. Wait for one minute and put the balls of ground beef in. Immediately flatten the balls with a spatula and season both sides with salt and pepper. Cook on each side until the internal temperature is 160 ℉. Turn the heat off and put a slice of cheese onto the burger. While waiting for the cheese to melt, toast your buns in a toaster.  Put it all together and you got yourself a healthy burger.

    Another common fast food item are french fries, which are often deep fried in unhealthy oils, similarly to burgers. That doesn’t mean french fries are off-limits on a healthy diet; here are the ingredients necessary to make a healthy version:

  • Potatoes
  • Salt
  • Avocado oil

First, wash the potatoes with water. Next, chop the potatoes into the french fry shape desired. Season them with salt and toss them around in a bowl to make sure all the fries have some salt on them. Put around one-fourth of an inch of oil into a pan and turn onto high heat. Every two minutes, put a wooden spoon or chopstick in the oil. When the oil bubbles up, that means it is time to fry the potatoes. Put all the potatoes into the pan and wait until they become semi-transparent, then flip. Keep doing this until the color becomes a golden brown. The fries should take anywhere from three to seven minutes to cook, depending on the temperature of the oil. When the fries are done cooking, put them onto paper towels to soak out excess oil. Put all the fries into a bowl and season with salt until satisfied. 

    Finally, brownies from many fast food restaurants are made with unhealthy ingredients and sugars. Bypass the sugar overload with this simple recipe:

  • ¼ cup egg whites
  • 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder

    Get out a small bowl to put the ingredients in. The ingredients should be put in the bowl in the order they are listed and mixed together until they form a thick paste. Put the bowl in the microwave for thirty to fifty seconds and top with fruits or homemade whipped cream.

    These recipes are just a start; there are endless substitutions to be made that can make meals healthier.  Making healthy food at home can be a creative and fun experience, and can even be a stress reliever.