Make "Man Food" Healthier, but Still Yummy

We all know "man food" when we see it. Usually, it's deep fried and comes with beer - or things like pizza and fried chicken -- those sorts of things. And usually, it's far from the healthiest stuff on the menu.

But it doesn't have to be loaded with calories, saturated fat, and sodium.

You can lighten them up by making just a few minor changes while still salvaging the flavor men crave, as Cooking Light magazine chef Allison Fishman showed on "The Early Show."

Her lightened-up "Man Food" included:

• Pork and Pinto Bean Nachos
• Beer Battered Onion Rings
• Smothered Steak Burgers
• Steak with Grilled Fries
• Parmesan Zucchini Strips

"Early Show" recipes galore!


Nachos are chock-full of goodness hitting on all types of flavor and texture notes. For a quick and simple nacho fix without the added calories, fat, and sodium, make your own by using wholesome ingredients. Substitute salty taco-seasoned ground beef with shredded lean pork tenderloin. In place of pre-made, lard-packed refried beans, mash pinto or black beans and dollop on the chips. Add diced avocado in place of mounds of guacamole to evenly distribute the creamy, cool flavor and keep the calories in check. Finally, top with shredded reduced-fat cheese and pop under the broiler until melted instead of drizzling with neon orange cheese sauce.

Onion Rings

If your guy has tried to convince you that onions rings count as a vegetable serving, try this trick to keep him true to his word. These onion rings taste just as good as ones he would eat at a diner or a bar. Instead of searching for the onion in a sea of fried batter, this recipe highlights the true onion flavor by thinly coating it in a beer-seasoned batter, lightly frying until golden brown in a small amount of oil, and then baking to finish off them off. For a strong beer flavor, use a darker beer.


A hamburger doesn't have to be oversized or loaded with fatty toppings to be a good burger. You may think that the easiest way to lighten a beef burger is to just switch to ground turkey, but that isn't always true. Not all ground turkey is as light as you may believe so make sure to check the label to ensure you're purchasing ground turkey breast (versus "ground turkey" that may also include the darker meat and skin). In fact, regular ground turkey has more fat and calories than 93 percent lean ground beef. So if you prefer beef, choose the extra-lean ground beef or ground sirloin and top with crisp lettuce, juicy tomatoes, and reduced-fat cheese.

Meat and Potatoes

Beef often gets a bad rap for being high in saturated fat, so choose lean cuts of beef for a healthier meat option. High-quality, lean protein helps to support healthy muscles, provides iron, and keeps you feeling full plus it's a good source of energy-providing B vitamins. When selecting meat, any meat ending in "loin" is usually the most lean and quite tender. Also try flank steak, tri-tip, and hanger steak for a budget-friendly option.
Ditch the fried fries or butter-filled mashed potatoes and offer grilled potato strips to satisfy your guy's meat and potato fix.

Parmesan Zucchini Sticks

Panko and Parmesan cheese give these crispy appetizers the same look and feel as traditional cheese sticks but for a fraction of the calories. Instead of cheese, dredge zucchini sticks in a breadcrumbs, panko, and Parm mixture then broil (versus frying) for a crispy texture. Six zucchini sticks with red pepper sauce only have 170 calories which is roughly equivalent to only two cheese sticks without sauce.

To see Allison's recipes, go to Page 2.