Can everyone please stop hating on fries as an "indulgent", "cheat-day" food? (Actually, all carbs for that matter!)
"Potatoes are not the enemy," says Devin Alexander, author of I Can't Believe It's Not Fattening!
A small potato packs about 130 calories, no fat, 18 percent of your daily vitamin C intake, and more potassium than a banana. Any potential to turn them into an "unhealthy" choice comes with how you cook them. Many restaurants double fry french fries to make them extra crispy. For this riff on healthy french fries, you’ll score the same result by boiling the sliced potatoes for 2 to 3 minutes (to release moisture), then draining, tossing with olive oil, and baking. As a result, these healthy french fries have less than one-third the fat you would get from a medium order at a fast-food joint.
For a bonus fiber boost, keep the skin on the potatoes. It contains at least 50 percent of the root vegetable's fiber, says Alexander. (Here’s why we’re totally on Team Fiber—and why you should be, too.)
The secret ingredient for our healthy French fries: Parmesan, which makes these fries taste decadent. It also adds a hint of salt, so you don't have to shake on more of the seasoning before you dig in.
Healthy French Fries
- 4 teaspoons olive oil
- 4 medium baking potatoes (1 1/2 pounds total), scrubbed
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil; brush with 2 teaspoons of the olive oil. Set aside.
- Cut the potatoes lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick wedges. Transfer to a large bowl. Add remaining olive oil; toss to coat. Sprinkle potato wedges with the salt and black pepper, tossing to coat. Arrange potatoes in a single layer on prepared baking sheet.
- Bake in a 450° F oven for 12 minutes. Turn potatoes; sprinkle with the Parmesan. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes more or until tender and golden.
Nutrition facts per serving (8 wedges): 155 calories, 4 g protein, 22 g carbohydrate, 6 g fat (1.5g saturated), 3 g fiber
Flavor Twists On Healthy French Fries
If you’re in the mood to mix things up, skip the Parmesan and try these three takes on the classic side dish.
- Chili: Prep the healthy french fries as above, adding 1/2 teaspoon chili powder and 1/2 teaspoon paprika when you sprinkle with salt and black pepper. After baking, top each serving with 1/2 cup low-sodium canned chili (such as Amy's Organic Light in Sodium Chili) or one of our this homemade chili you can whip up in your slow cooker or Instant Pot
- Garlic: Prep the healthy french fries as above, adding 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder when you sprinkle with salt and black pepper.
- Sweet Potato: Prep the healthy french fries as above, substituting 4 medium sweet potatoes for baking potatoes. Instead of salt and black pepper, sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Bake in a 425° F oven for 20 to 30 minutes or until brown and tender, turning once. (Up Next: 5 Nutritionists’ Fast-Food Orders)