This week's blog post was written by an awesome guest dietitian blogger, Heather Mason, MS, RD. She has a passion for food and promoting a healthy diet and lifestyle.
You're at your favorite restaurant, trying to decide which side dish to order. Keeping both flavor and health in mind, you decide on sweet potato fries. They taste great and they are healthy! Not so fast. Sweet potato fries are slightly more nutritious than regular French fries, but they are certainly not a health food.
For starters, let's compare sweet potatoes to white potatoes. Both are high in carbohydrates, have similar amounts of calories (approximately 150 calories for a medium sized potato), and are low in protein (2-3 grams per serving). Both potatoes are a good source of fiber as long as the skin is consumed. One notable difference is that sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A. A one-cup serving of sweet potato has over 300% of your daily value of Vitamin A (USDA), whereas a white potato has none. Vitamin A is important for good vision and a healthy immune system.
The real problem with fries (of either type) is the oil used for deep-frying. The oil used in restaurants may contain trans fat and adds a large amount of fat and calories. On average, a serving of sweet potato fries or regular fries has between 300-400 calories. This is not waistline friendly! The best solution would be ordering a baked sweet potato or a side salad. If you really want to order the sweet potato fries I suggest you share with a friend (or several friends).
To make delicious and healthy baked sweet potato "fries" at home try this recipe.
Baked Sweet Potato Fries
(Recipe adapted from www.simplyrecipes.com)
Ingredients (serves 4-6 as a side dish)
- 3 large sweet potatoes
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon salt
- A pinch of pepper
- 1-2 Tablespoons smoked paprika OR minced fresh rosemary
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Wash and slice sweet potatoes into small wedges.
- Place in a large bowl and toss to coat with oil, salt, and spices.
- Spread the potatoes on a single layer in a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes and flip to cook on the other side. Bake for 15 more minutes or until the potatoes begin to brown.
- Remove from oven, let cool for 5 minutes and enjoy!
Heather Mason is a Registered Dietitian who holds a Master’s Degree in Nutrition Science. She currently works at Sierra Vista Medical Clinic where she counsels adults and children with diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. She has a passion for blogging and delivering her healthy eating message in a fun and humorous way. Her hobbies include baking and cooking, snowboarding, and any outdoor activities. She is also an avid group exerciser and loves teaching Zumba Fitness classes. You can read more posts from her on her blog The Nutty Nutritionist.