They are unhealthy and go straight to the hips almost without detours. Nevertheless, chips are considered pure luck, hardly any other fast food is loved by everyone. Hot, crispy, salty and with a sinful portion of mayo – it takes an extremely strong will to leave a portion of fries lying around.
To make sure you don’t have to do without fries anyway, it is high time for an update. There are certainly tips and tricks you can use to prepare chips with fewer calories and healthier .
Why are fries so popular?
French fries are one of the best sellers of fast food ever. But why does everyone go for the oh! so unhealthy French fries?
The nutritional values of chips do not give much more than fast carbohydrates and fat. That’s a pretty devastating combination. In the food industry it is also known as the “fat or nibble formula”. Because as unhealthy as the combination is, it stimulates your greed for food.
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The crunchy combination of carbohydrates and fat triggers a special reward signal in your brain. Especially when the food consists of about 50 percent carbs and about 35 percent fats, this reaction, which dates back to the time when food was scarce and survival had to be ensured, occurs.
Carbohydrates are quick energy suppliers, especially when it comes to short sugar chains. Fats, on the other hand, are utilised much more slowly and serve as a reserve for bad times. Your body reacts according to the motto: “It is better to take precautions and accumulate reserves! So you shovel the potato sticks into yourself against your better judgment.
Why are fries so bad for you?
Fat and carbohydrates are bad enough, but there are other unhealthy peculiarities specific to French fries. I’m sorry, but you’re gonna have to go through that.
Not only chips contain a lot of fat, but mayo and other toppings also contain many calories. © Foodio / Shutterstock.com
1. fries are full of unhealthy fats
French fries are made of potatoes, yes. And they’re not so unhealthy, right. After all, 100 grams of cooked potatoes only provide 69 calories and contain many good nutrients. But after peeling and deep-frying there is almost nothing left of them.
Instead, the potato sticks are full of fat, so that the calorie content is almost five times as high at 316 calories per 100 grams. In addition, fat is mostly trans fats, which not only promote overweight but can also cause cardiovascular diseases.
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2. chips contain acrylamide
There is another factor that is even more problematic and much discussed: acrylamide. This is a substance that is created when starch or sugar and the amino acid asparagine in a foodstuff are heated together to over 120 degrees.
Acrylamide is said to have a variety of harmful effects on health. It is even said to be carcinogenic. The stupid thing: Acrylamide makes chips only so beautifully crispy and lends them the irresistible roasting flavour. By the way, it is also found in this function in rolls, crisps, crispbread, croquettes, coffee and biscuits.
When deep-frying, acrylamide is produced, a substance that is harmful to health. © Radu Bercan / Shutterstock.com
Since the negative consequences of excessive consumption have been proven in several scientific studies, there is even EU -Ordinance on the guide values of acrylamide in foodstuffs. Because, as is often the case, it’s the quantity that makes the poison. For example, 100 grams of chips may not contain more than 0.05 milligrams of acrylamide. But you can hardly check that.
3. Sauces and toppings have many calories
Last but not least, it is not only the fries alone that are unhealthy. There are also the equally fatty and unhealthy sauces, dips and toppings such as mayonnaise, ketchup, etc. They provide a huge amount of extra calories without containing any healthy nutrients.
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Good to know: In times of intolerances, intolerances and the like, the question of gluten comes up again and again. Potatoes are gluten-free. And chips are also gluten-free. However, if breadcrumbs are prepared in a deep fryer in addition to French fries, residues of breadcrumbs containing gluten among other things can cheat their way under the fries.
How can fries be healthy?
Quite simply: By making some yourself. Bought chips usually contain too many calories, fat, and acrylamide, but no nutrients. Therefore it is time to give the unhealthy fries a little makeover. Instead of buying them at the nearest chip shop, you have to do it yourself. Attention: Also the deep-frozen version is usually prefried and thus fails miserably in terms of nutrients.
For you, it means go for the knife. The potatoes must first be peeled and brought into the shape of chips. To turn the unhealthy calorie bomb into a lighter alternative, you should also follow a few tips.
1. prepare the fries using the correct method
It doesn’t always have to be the deep fryer. French fries from the oven get by (almost) without oil. They contain less fat and calories. The ready-cut potatoes are seasoned with salt, pepper, paprika powder and a dash of oil. Then they are put into the hot oven. Use baking paper and do not cut the potatoes too thin. The thicker the fries, the slower acrylamide is formed.
Healthy fries come out of the oven or hot-air deep fryer with little oil. © Natasha Breen / Shutterstock.com
Another fat-free alternative is the hot air deep fryer, which works like a small convection oven. Instead of frying in oil, the fries are fried in hot air, so that crispy fries are also produced with this method.
With homemade french fries, a small amount of oil is sufficient to ensure that there is no loss of flavour. No matter if deep fryer or oven. In order not to increase the acrylamide formation additionally, you should absolutely control the temperature. At temperatures above 180 degrees the acrylamide formation suddenly increases many times over.
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2. use the correct grease
Fat is a flavour carrier and therefore the reason why chips, burgers & co. taste so delicious. It does not have to be completely fat-free, at least not at the expense of taste. But it should be the right fat. Trans-fats and hydrogenated oils are an absolute no-go, which can damage your health. Instead, you should rather use high-quality vegetable oils such as rapeseed oil. These provide healthy fats, including essential omega-3 fatty acids.
However, this only works if you prepare the chips in the oven or hot-air deep fryer.
When deep-frying, the smoke point is the decisive factor for choosing the right fat. Many healthy oils produce substances that are harmful to health when heated up strongly, which is why they are suitable for the oven but not for deep-frying. On the other hand, coconut oil or clarified butter do not affect these high temperatures.
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3. exchange mayo and ketchup for homemade dips
French fries with mayo and ketchup are virtually inseparable. But unfortunately also real fat partners, who provide for proper hip gold. This also applies to cheese, guacamole and other sauces. All this is fine from time to time, but as a real French fries junkie you should be careful with it. If you do without additional toppings, you will save a whole lot of calories right away. If you do want a sauce, make it yourself.
4. resort to potato alternatives
You can also make chips from sweet potatoes and vegetables. © Valeria Boltneva / Pexels.com
Nor does it always have to be the classic potato chips. Even in restaurants there are more and more alternatives on the menu. Sweet potato fries have become a real sales hit. Although they have more calories, they score points due to their lower glycemic index, so they keep you full longer. They also contain more fibre and lots of beta-carotene.
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Vegetable fries are even lower in calories. Kohlrabi or parsnip look very similar to the original, but provide only a fraction of the calories and hardly any carbohydrates, making them ideal for a low-carb diet. Carrots, beetroot or Jerusalem artichoke, a root bulb, are also ideal for preparing fake fries.
What are healthy french fries alternatives? 4 recipes
French fries are damn tasty, and not just those made from potatoes. There are a whole range of delicious and healthy alternatives to French fries, which you can enjoy more often. Here are our favourite recipes.
Sweet potato chips with hummus
So much color catches the eye. The bright sweet potato fries are accompanied by an oriental hummus. The chickpea dip also scores points with healthy carbs, proteins and lots of fibre. Together with the sweet potatoes a nutritious filling.
Low Carb: Kohlrabi fries red-white
Would you have recognized it? These fake fries really look like the original. Crunchy kohlrabi turns into low-carb fries. They come with homemade miso mayonnaise and a spicy ketchup alternative.
Parsnip chips with avocado dip
A tin to fall in love with. Parsnips have a sweet and nutty taste, which they definitely convince us with as a french fries alternative. In addition, the healthy tuber vegetables are rich in valuable B vitamins, vitamins K and C as well as calcium.
Crispy carrot fries
These carrot fries are extra crunchy. The trick: Parmesan cheese and a few breadcrumbs make a crispy batter that gives the low-carb fries that extra kick. A healthy alternative where you definitely won’t miss potato fries.
T ipp: beaten egg white makes fake fries nice and crispy
A little secret tip that makes chips made from sweet potato, kohlrabi, carrots, beetroot and co. extra crispy: turn the vegetable chips in whipped beaten egg white before putting them in the oven. Season them with paprika, salt, pepper and a little chilli, depending on taste. After a round in the oven, you can look forward to delicious sweet potato fries.
So nothing stands in the way of healthy french fries. Put an end to fatty fast food and give low-carb fake fries a chance. The beauty of it is that you can have a second portion of these fries.