Any dieter would probably gasp at the thought of indulging in fried foods. Food submerged in the very oil and fat that you so diligently try to burn off at the gym? Never! But are fried foods really that bad?
Survey Says: Yes
With so many healthier alternatives, frying is not a smart, low-fat way to cook. Braising, roasting, steaming, grilling and sauteing are healthy, low-fat ways to cook, while preserving the flavor of the food you prepare. In studies, frying added a minimum of 2 grams of fat – added fat – to the foods that were cooked. Each added gram of fat adds 9 calories as well. Some argue that if the oil is hot enough, the food won’t absorb as much fat. This is true, but you likely get enough fat (hopefully healthy fats) from other foods in your diet, like meats, eggs, nuts and certain vegetables like avocado or soybeans. These healthy fats are good for your body and even slow digestion to keep you feeling full. The problem with fat grams and calories in fried foods doesn’t stop there.
Lots of fried foods are prepared in unhealthy oils. You would likely not purchase a food that claimed that it was fried in saturated fats, nor would you slap a pile of lard in a pan to make some homemade french fries. Despite the claim from most restaurants that they fry their foods in vegetable oil, most likely soybean oil, these oils are processed to the hilt. They are made of partially hydrogenated oils that stick to your cell walls, doing a really bad job of helping with body processes. Partially hydrogenated oils let all the toxins in and turn away healthy vitamins and minerals. This nasty stuff is trans fat. So that 0% trans fat claim on the label? It may just be 0.9%.
Here’s a look at some healthy alternatives to fried foods:
Fry Fake Out
If you are fixing for some fried food, try a healthier alternative. Try “breading” chicken, eggplant, mushrooms or any other tasty food in Japanese breadcrumbs and pan frying or baking in a tiny bit of olive oil. You’ll add minimal fat and still get that same crunch that you’d get without the grease squeezing through your teeth with each bite!
Go for the Grill
Try some appetizer favorites on the grill and keep the sauce to fool your palate. Grill chicken strips and roll in buffalo hot sauce for a great buffalo wing alternative. Calamari steak on the grill with your favorite tomato basil sauce makes fried calamari a thing of the past when you see how good it tastes!
Broil for Crunch
French fries are always a hit with kids and adults alike. If you need your fix, try cutting a potato in wedges and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil and broil on low until each side is golden brown and crunchy. Spice them up with salt, garlic and rosemary, or kick it up with salt, cayenne and chili powder. You probably won’t even need the ketchup!
Nix fatty fried foods and you won’t even have a taste for them later. You’ll be doing your body a favor in the long run!