Fries with That?

0

fries

French fries, pommes frites, chips…or just fries…are indisputably one of the most popular foods in America with the average American consuming nearly 29 pounds of fries a year.

While fries may or may not have originated in France, Thomas Jefferson is credited with introducing fries to America.  Jefferson had them during his term as the American Minister to France and loved them so much that in 1802 he asked the White House chef to prepare what he described as “potatoes deep-fried while raw, in small cuttings” for a dinner event.  However, fries didn’t really catch on until the 1900s.

Fast forward over 100 years and fries are now a staple in most American’s diets and are a lot of people’s favorite “vegetable.”  A medium-sized potato contains about 150 calories and is fat-free.  An equivalent serving of fries contains over 500 calories with 30% or more coming from fat.

Commercially prepared fries generally contain numerous additives that were carefully calibrated by food manufacturers to truly make them “irresistible.”  Many fast food restaurants also spray their fries with a sugar solution during the packaging process to produce the infamous golden color when fried.  No wonder we can’t say no when asked, “would you like fries with that?”

Fun Fact: Even though fries are eaten worldwide, they way they’re served is not universal.  Americans generally dunk theirs in ketchup, the French like to add mustard, while the Brits prefer vinegar.  In Japan, you’ll see fries paired with green curry or soy sauce and in Canada they’re topped with gravy and cheese curds.

Source: “Are French Fries Truly French?,” National Geographic, January 2015

You CAN Have Fries with That

healthyfries

While there really is no true replacement for the mouthwatering, “batons of deep-fried potato,” there are ways you can prepare fries at home to make them healthier while still tasting great.

One great alternative is oven “fries.”

  • Simply cut potatoes into wedges or thin spears (whatever shape you prefer your fries; thinner cut, matchstick style fries tend to crisp up the best)
  • Toss with olive oil and spices (salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, chili powder, etc)
  • Place in a single layer on a foil lined baking sheet, making sure they don’t touch or overlap
  • Bake in a 450 degree oven, tossing at least once, for 30-45 minutes or until crispy and golden brown

Another option is to make fries from something other than potatoes- carrots, green beans, parsnips, squash, even eggplant.  Try the recipes below for a few versions of vegetable fries.  Coming in 100-150 calories per serving, you’ll save close to 400 calories by making this swap.  Plus, “fries” really can be your kids’ favorite vegetable with these recipes!

Parmesan Pepper Green Bean Fries
Recipe from: Weight Watchers Magazine, March/April 2015
Makes 6 Servings

green_bean_fries

Ingredients

parm_green_bean_fries_ingredients

12 oz fresh green beans, trimmed
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 Tbsp water
1 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 3 ½ oz)
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk egg whites and water until foamy in a bowl. Combine cheese and pepper in another bowl.
  3. Dip green beans into the egg mixture and turn to coat; gently shake off any excess. Then dip into cheese mixture and turn to coat (a light coating works best). Place on baking sheet.
  4. Repeat with remaining green beans, making sure fries do not touch or overlap on baking sheet. Rewhip egg mixture a few times during this process, as needed, to keep foamy.
  5. Bake until cheese has melted and browned, 8-10 minutes.
  6. Transfer to a wire rack to cool until serving.

Nutrition Information per Serving (approximately 10 fries): Calories: 96, Total Fat: 5gm, Saturated Fat: 3gm, Sodium: 277mg, Carbs: 5gm, Fiber: 2gm, Protein: 9gm

Lemon Dill Zucchini Fries
Recipe adapted from: Weight Watchers Magazine, March/April 2015
Makes 4 Servings

lemon_dill_zucchini_fries

Ingredients

lemon_dill_zucchini_fries_ingredients

3 medium zucchini
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 large egg whites
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp water
1 cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs
1 Tbsp minced fresh dill or 1 tsp dried dill
1 tsp lemon zest
½ tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise. Then slice each half into 4 long spears (you should end up with 24 fries).
  3. Place zucchini in a large bowl. Add flour and toss to coat.
  4. Whisk egg whites, lemon juice and water in a separate bowl. Combine panko, dill, lemon zest, salt and pepper in another bowl.
  5. Dip zucchini spears into the egg mixture and turn to coat; gently shake off any excess. Then dip into bread crumb mixture and turn to coat. Place on baking sheet.
  6. Repeat with remaining zucchini, making sure fries do not touch or overlap on baking sheet.
  7. Spray fries with nonstick cooking spray and bake until brown and crunchy, 25-30 minutes.
  8. Transfer to a wire rack to cool until serving.

Nutrition Information per Serving (6 fries): Calories: 110, Total Fat: 1gm, Saturated Fat: 0gm, Sodium: 350mg, Carbs: 19gm, Fiber: 3gm, Protein: 7gm

Eggplant Parm Fries
Recipe adapted from: Weight Watchers Magazine, March/April 2015
Makes 4 Servings

eggplant_parm_fries_

Ingredients

eggplant_parm_fries_ingredients

1 ½ lbs eggplant
2 large egg whites
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 Tbsp water
1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
¼ cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 1oz)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Trim and peel eggplant. Use the fry attachment on a mandolin to create small spears. If you don’t have a mandolin, cut off a thin sliver from rounded sides so the eggplant can lie flat. Cut lengthwise into ½-inch thick slices; cut each slice into ½-inch thick sticks. Then cut each stick in half again (you should get 48 fries).
  3. Whisk egg whites, tomato paste and water in a bowl. Combine bread crumbs, oregano, basil and cheese in another bowl.
  4. Dip eggplant fries into the egg mixture and turn to coat; gently shake off any excess. Then dip into bread crumb mixture and turn to coat. Place on baking sheet.
  5. Repeat with remaining eggplant, making sure to not touch or overlap on baking sheet.
  6. Spray fries with nonstick cooking spray and bake until brown and crunchy, 25-30 minutes.
  7. Transfer to a wire rack to cool until serving.

Nutrition Information per Serving (12 fries): Calories: 158, Total Fat: 3gm, Saturated Fat: 1gm, Sodium: 200mg, Carbs: 25gm, Fiber: 6gm, Protein: 10gm

 

Click here for a printer-friendly version of these recipes.

Click here for a printer-friendly version of this blog post. 

Share

About Author

Ashley Bailey, MS, RDN, LDN

Nutritionist

Ashley is a Nutritionist at SAS Institute in Cary, NC. She is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Certified Biofeedback Instructor, and has a Certificate of Training in Adult Weight Management. Outside of work, Ashley enjoys spending as much time as possible at the beach, running, cooking and crafting. Follow @abaileyRD on Twitter.

Leave A Reply

Back to Top