By Lynn Nalupta
Ahh the French fry. There are so many varieties–shoestring, curly, steak cut, and crinkle cut, just to name a few. No one can deny that these long slices of potatoes top the list as one of America’s favorite foods. Because it is a classic, you don’t have to look far to find these on restaurant menus across the country. The french fry is served as a side for several main dishes. Unfortunately, French fries get a bad rap since they are found at most fast food chains. Prepared in a deep fryer, fast food chains will add chemicals to maintain the same crispiness and texture every time you eat it. Added salt and additives are used to increase flavor and keep you coming back for more. But this also increases the calories and sodium and leads to us craving more fast food!
But don’t cross the French fry off of your list of foods you can have just yet. There are several healthy ways to keep the beloved French fry in your diet. As I have mentioned in previous posts, you should try to experiment at home. Create your own adventure in the kitchen with foods that you typically purchase outside. Your body will thank you! You can empower yourself by knowing what ingredients are in your recipes. You don’t have to wonder about certain hard-to-pronounce chemicals that are added to your food.
French fries are one of my favorites to create at home. To avoid getting bored, switch it up every now and then. Bake them or substitute sweet potatoes or parsnips for regular ‘ole spuds.
While I was looking for healthier ways to make fries, I found a great recipe on one of my favorite healthy blog websites, ohsheglows.com. The blog post was entitled, “These Fries Will Change Your Life”. What I liked about this recipe was (1) the French fries were made out of parsnips (2) the French fries are baked not fried (2) the coating was made out of almond and peanut butter. I’ve used almond and peanut butter as spreads and in shakes but never as a coating to fries. The blog author, Angela, wasn’t kidding about the fries! They are really tasty and have changed the way that I make fries at home. It is a really easy recipe to change up with the ingredients you have on hand. Angela has graciously allowed me to post her take on the French fry below.
Nut Butter Crusted Parsnip Fries
Adapted from Diet, Dessert, & Dogs.
3 medium parsnips (or 2 medium sweet potatoes), peeled and cut into thin fry-like strips
1 Tbsp almond butter
2 Tbsp chunky peanut butter
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt
Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper for easy clean-up. Peel and cut parsnips into fry-like strips. In a medium-size bowl, mix together the nut butters, olive oil, and salt. Take parsnips and toss in bowl with your hands until fully coated. Line up on baking pan and cook for 30-50 minutes until crisp. I cooked mine for 40 minutes, but probably could have left them in another 5 minutes to crisp up even more. They were wonderful!
Lynn Nalupta is a certified health counselor and occupational therapist. She received her training and certification to practice health counseling at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and her bachelor of science degree in occupational therapy from Boston University’s Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. She has spent the last six years working with children with special needs. Her approach to health counseling takes into consideration her clients’ diets and their lifestyles in order to help them make better food choices, reach their health goals, and live healthier, happy lives that are flexible, fun, and free of denial. For more information, visit thehealthdish.com.