Junk Food That's Good For You

It's difficult to get our kids to eat healthy when junk food like chicken nuggets and burgers with super-sized fries is so readily available—and so very tempting. With this in mind, I set off on a search for healthy "junk" food recipes and came up with these three winners for lean burgers, baked chicken fingers, and un-fried fries. They'll help you keep your family from craving bad-for-you food.


Healthy Burgers from Annabel Karmel

1lb lean ground beef or turkey

1 onion, peeled and finely chopped

1/2 cup red pepper, finely chopped

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 tablespoon chopped parsley (optional)

1/2 lightly beaten egg

1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs

1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

salt and freshly ground black pepper

a little flour

vegetable oil for frying, or brushing a griddle pan

Fry the onion and red pepper in the vegetable oil for about five minutes or until softened. In a mixing bowl, combine the sautéed onion and pepper together with all the other ingredients. With floured hands, form 10 burgers. Fry the burgers in a little hot oil in a large shallow frying pan on a high heat to brown and seal then lower the heat and cook for 3-4 minutes. Alternatively, brush the griddle and cook for about four minutes each side or until browned and cooked through. Repeat with the remaining burgers. You can even make these burgers into fun mini-sliders!

Baked Chicken Fingers from Clean Eating Magazine

Olive oil or cooking spray

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (1.5lbs)

1/2 cup skim milk

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/4 cup almonds sliced

1/4 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs

1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Preheat oven to 375. Lightly coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray. Trim any fat from chicken and cut into strips (6-8 per breast) Stir milk and mustard together in a bowl. In a separate container, mix together almonds, oats, bread crumbs, parsley, and pepper. One at a time, dip chicken into milk mixture then dredge them in oatmeal mixture making sure each piece is coated evenly. Arrange on baking sheet and bake for 14-16 minutes turning once, or until chicken is cooked through and coating is golden brown.

1-1/2 lb. baking potatoes (about 3 medium)

1/4 cup light Italian dressing

1/4 cup reduced-fat grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425°F. Wash potatoes; pat dry with paper towels. Cut into 1/4-inch thick strips; transfer to large bowl. Add dressing and grated topping; toss well. Arrange potatoes in single layer on large baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Spray potatoes with cooking spray. Bake12 minutes. Turn potatoes over with large spatula. Continue baking 10-12 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.

Do you have any recipes for healthy "junk" food you'd like to share?

Read More >