Why is it that everything tasty has to be unhealthy? Take the case of fried food, for instance. The mere mention of fried food makes our mouths water. We all love to gorge on fried foods, oblivious of the fact that we are loading our bodies with unnecessary calories, saturated fats and trans-fats. Deep frying is one of the unhealthiest methods of cooking. Even the healthy ingredients get robbed of their nutrients when they are deep fried in oil, butter or ghee. But there is no refuting of the fact that fried foods are pleasing to our taste-buds, harmful as they may be for our health. Healthy and nutritious foods, on the other hand, are often believed to be boring. But with a few tricks and twists, even healthy foods can be made interesting and tasty enough to replace fried foods. Sounds improbable? Then, you must read on!
Top 10 Clever Swaps Of Fried Foods:
Given below are some clever swaps for fried foods with negligible health implications. Get the best of both the worlds with these ideas—taste and nutrition!
1. French Fries:
When we talk about fried foods, the first thing that comes to our mind is French fries. These are one of the most widely consumed fried foods worldwide and are loaded with calories. A medium amount of French fries from Mc. Donald’s contains 390 calories and 19 grams fat. Now you might end up asking as to how French fries can be healthy. Well, even French fries can be made healthier by baking them. All you need to do is toss the French fry strips in canola oil, garlic salt, freshly ground pepper and very little kosher salt. Place them on a baking pan lined with paper towels and bake them for 35 minutes or until golden brown turning them after every 10 minutes. You get the French fries which are comparatively lower in calories and yet have the same taste.
The warm deep fried doughnuts are relished by all. However, they are also loaded with calories and fat. A single glazed doughnut contains about 250 calories and 13 grams fat while the ones with cream filling contain 400 calories and 17 grams fat. Instead, go for light baked cinnamon doughnut balls.You can start off by preparing a cream with 1/3 cup of margarine and a cup of sugar. Add 1 ½ cups flour, 1 ½ cups baking powder, ½ cup skim milk, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon nutmeg. Place this mixture in mini muffin tins and bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. Sprinkle the doughnut balls with melted butter and coat them with a mixture of ½ cup sugar and 2 tablespoons cinnamon. You get the same doughnuts with just 50 calories and 3 grams fat per ball.
3. Apple Slices:
This might come as a surprise, but apple slices can be a healthy substitute for fried food. You can swap those crackers with crisp apple slices alongside savory sharp cheddar. A single wheat cracker contains about 40 mg sodium which is, of course, quite unhealthy. Apples slices, besides adding up to your fruit consumption, are low in calories and contain negligible amount of sodium.
4. Potato Chips:
Potato chips are a popular snack that can be enjoyed at any hour of the day. But do you know that this salty snack can increase your calorie intake by massive amounts? Just a single potato chip contains 10 calories, which means that an entire packet can load your body with 300 calories at a time. A medium sized potato, on the other hand, contains just 110 calories. So you can see the difference. If you find it difficult to give up those yummy potato chips, you can definitely make them healthier by baking them instead of frying. You can use a food processor slicing blade to cut the potatoes into slices of uniform thickness. Rub about ½ a teaspoon olive oil and a garlic clove on the baking sheet. Lay the potato slices sprinkled with salt and pepper and bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. Rotating the pan, bake for another 10 minutes. Keep flipping the chips while you bake them. Cool them on paper towels and store them in an airtight container. These are healthier than the greasy fried versions and satisfy your carvings in the same way.
These vegetables do not please many, but believe me, they can be a great replacement for unhealthy fried corn chips, which are high in carbs. Instead of having corn chips and sour cream as snacks, you can try heating fresh radish slices and some jalapenos. Dip them in creamy non-fat Greek yoghurt and enjoy healthy snacking.
6. Baked Chicken:
Crispy fried chicken is a hot favorite and one usually ends up eating more than one should. But do you know that just one fried chicken breast packs 320 calories, 14 grams fat and whopping 1130 milligrams sodium? Baked chicken is a healthier alternative if want to keep an eye on your weight and health. You can easily prepare it at home. Just melt about 1/3 cup butter in a baking dish. In another dish, mix ½ cup flour, ¼ teaspoon pepper and a teaspoon each of salt and paprika. Coat some washed chicken parts with this mixture keep them with their skin side down on the baking dish spread with butter. Bake at 45 degrees for about half an hour, turning them every 15 minutes. The result-you get the chicken with the same flavor containing just 142 calories and 3 grams of fat.
7. Pita Chips:
Pita chips are a healthy alternative for tortilla chips, which are high in calories. Just 10 tortilla chips contain 150 calories and 7 grams of fat. Pita chips, on the other hand, contain just 8 calories per piece. They are quite simple to prepare. Just brush some olive oil on the rough sides of whole-wheat pita bread. Split them into small triangles and sprinkle them with salt, parmesan cheese and black pepper. Bake them at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or until they turn golden brown and crisp. You can use different seasonings like garlic powder, chilli powder or Italian seasonings. These chips are delicious both warm and cool and can be enjoyed alongside any dish.
8. Baked Onion Rings:
The crispy onion rings make a delicious side dish with burgers and sandwiches. The recipe is simple. Cut the onions into ½ inch thick slices. Soak them in buttermilk for 3 hours and then with ½ cup flour and ½ teaspoon each of salt and black pepper, place them in a zipper bag and shake well. Whisk an egg white with 2 tablespoons milk and a pinch of cayenne. Dip the rings in this mixture and coat them with panko breadcrumbs. Place these on a baking sheet and bake for about 12 minutes or until they become golden brown.
9. Stuffed Breaded Mushrooms:
Five raw mushrooms contain just 20 calories and no fat, but frying loads them with 200 calories and 13 grams of fat. To get the same taste, but consume fewer calories, you can try stuffed mushrooms instead. Mix ½ cup each of grated parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs, 2 chopped garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons each of olive and parsley oils and a pinch of black pepper. Remove the stems from about 30 white mushrooms and fill the mushroom caps with this mixture and coat them with some olive oil. Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil on a baking sheet, place these stuffed mushrooms on it and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
10. Banana Chips:
These sweet and crispy banana chips are another fried food that is loaded with calories and fat. Just half a cup serving packs 170 calories and 10 grams fat, of which 8 grams is saturated fat. A healthier alternative is to replace those fried banana chips with homemade baked chips, which contain just 105 calories and less than 1 gram fat in about 30 chips. Just like potato chips, you can bake them at 200 degrees for 1 to 3 hours and sprinkle them with some kosher salt and a pinch of sugar.
So, now you can cheat your palate with something healthy foods that tastes as good, if not better, than all those fried goodies! Try these lip smacking dishes and stay healthy!
Do you like fried food? Which is your favorite dish? Have you ever tried a healthier alternative? Let’s talk, in the comments section below.