How to Lighten Up Your Favorite Fried Foods

September 16, 2013

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If the thought of never eating another chicken finger or French fry makes you want to throw in the towel on your medical weight loss plan, I have some good news: You don’t have to. Fried fare may get the nickname “heart attack on a plate” for a good reason, but you can get the same amount of crunch without drowning your food in batter.

It may be hard to walk away from the smell of fresh French fries passing by McDonald’s, but you can satisfy your fried food craving the healthy way by following my simple tips.

Baked ‘fried’ chicken: To make a skinny version of classic chicken fingers, beat an egg in one bowl and combine a mixture of whole-wheat bread crumbs and your favorite spices—paprika, garlic powder, pepper, etc.—in another bowl. Dip thin-sliced chicken cutlets in the egg mixture, then immediately in the dry mixture. Put on a baking tray and bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes. You’ll have a crispy chicken tender fresh out of the oven.

Lightened up fries or sweet potato fries: When cooked right, potatoes have a place in every weight loss plan. The skin in particular is an antioxidant gold mine. It contains heart-healthy vitamin B, vitamin C, potassium, and iron, among other nutrients. One potato (medium) contains up to 4 grams of fiber, 2 milligrams of iron, and 926 grams of potassium. To imitate a crispy French fry, slice potato wedges thin, top with olive oil and salt, and bake at 425 degrees for about 30 minutes, turning occasionally.

Make a skinny stir fry: Ordering a stir fry at a restaurant isn’t the best choice, but you can make your own and have a flavorful meal ready in a matter of minutes. Toss your favorite veggies with soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and a little bit of hot sauce in a non-stick frying pan. Use non-stick cooking spray to keep oil to a minimum. There are no limits when it comes to stir fry, so experiment and have fun!

If you do decide to fry food, use olive oil or sunflower oil: One study, published in BMJ, found there was no association between coronary heart disease and mortality when olive oil and sunflower oil were used for frying. However, this doesn’t mean you should be deep frying every meal in these oils. A high-fat diet is still linked to obesity, but when you have a craving, you can reduce the damage by using healthier oils.

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