Everyone loves french fries, but they can be an unhealthy habit – especially if you're going for the fast-food kind. Fortunately, you don’t need to drop them just yet. There are tricks to making your favorite taters a little better for you, and TikTok food content creators have all the tea (as the kids say). Here's to worry-free yet still indulgent snacking!
How to Make Better-for-You French Fries
The healthiest french fries you can eat are the ones you whip up in your kitchen. Only you know what's best for you! So, got your chef's hat on? Great! Make guiltless chips with these time-tested and TikTok-approved tips.
1. Experiment with other vegetables.
Don't be limited to using white potatoes for your homemade french fries. Hit up your wet market suki to source fresh, affordable produce for mixed veggie fries. You might even like them better than your usual!
Sweet potatoes are the default alternative to white since they have similar profiles. You can boil, mash, and fry 'em just the same. But as their name suggests, sweet potatoes are sweeter and develop a caramelized crust when browned. Go for these if you love sweet-savory combos. TikTok creator @newt tosses his fries in grated Parmesan for cheesy umami.
Generally, most root crops will work beautifully as a hearty substitute. They also pack plenty of nutrients in every serving. Try carrots for your vitamin A fix (an essential for eye health!) or parsnips for immunity-boosting vitamin C. Do you want something with a more distinct flavor profile? Go for beets! They have a delightfully earthy taste that sweetens after cooking.
2. Get rid of excess starch.
Starch gives potatoes their addictively fluffy texture, but it’s also a type of carbohydrate. Your body relies on carbs for energy. They're also integral to a balanced diet. However, too much of it can spike blood sugar, slow metabolism, and lead to other health issues. So, it's best to moderate your carbo-loading.
If starchy food, like bread, pasta, and rice, are already part of your daily meals, you can stand to reduce the starch in your potatoes. There are a few ways to do it. First, soak sliced and peeled potatoes in cold water for at least 30 minutes. TikTok creator @kaylaskitchandfix swears that this trick “changed the game” for her. The water should turn cloudy with starch.
Next, blanch the potatoes in boiling water. Let them cook until fork-tender, then run them under cold water to prevent them from turning to mush. Not only do these methods remove excess starch, but they also lead to crispier fries. Now your potatoes are ready to cook!
3. Try out different cooking methods and use minimal oil.
Fries may be a less-than-healthy snack, but you shouldn't blame the veg. The bulk of the empty (and harmful!) calories in fries comes from the oil they cook in. It doesn't matter if you're ordering from a fast-food chain or upscale resto. Most establishments deep-fry their potatoes in hydrogenated oils high in trans-fat. Having them is fine in moderation, but it shouldn't be a daily – or even weekly – habit.
So, if fries are your favorite treat, it will always be better for you to make them. That way, you can control how much oil goes into them. You can even ditch the deep-fryer altogether. Try baking or air-frying them since those methods require much less fat, but they'll still deliver a crisp, satisfying bite. America’s Test Kitchen (@testkitchen on TikTok) proves it. For oils, try something heart-healthy with a high smoke point, such as sunflower or peanut.
4. Flavor with lots of spices and seasonings.
You can't have fries without salt and pepper, but that doesn't mean they're all you can use. Be bold with your seasoning choices! Garlic powder, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper can make your fries extra tasty. Rosemary, thyme, and other dried herbs do wonders for flavor, too. The best part? They're zero-calorie and won't add any sodium!
Better yet, save yourself the trouble and toss your spuds in Knorr Sinigang sa Sampalok Original Mix. This asim-sarap seasoning blend is perfectly balanced as is, so you won't need to dig through your spice drawer to find the best combinations. It'll give your fries a tart, savory punch, just like what you'd get with classic sinigang.
5. Go for light yet flavorful dips.
Now that you've made some healthy french fries, it's time to round out the snacking experience with a dip. Yes, you can have fries without it – but why would you? A great sauce is a treat in and of itself! Go for light, nutritious options that pair well with your fries without compromising their healthiness.
Try something yogurt-based for extra protein, like a zesty tzatziki or creamy ranch. Do you love mayo dips? Consider supplementing it with ketchup, mustard, and other less calorific condiments. Make an herby pesto with lots of greens or a silky hummus with chickpeas, tahini, and lemon juice. Tip: take inspiration from your favorite salad creations, like the viral green goddess salad by @bakedbymelissa!
Who says you have to choose between treating yourself and eating healthier? French fries can be nutritious, fun, and satisfying all at once. Follow these easy tweaks and foolproof techniques to make better-for-you treats!