Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Baked = Fried

I wanted to clear up a common misunderstanding that I’ve heard many times in my office over the past few months.  I’ve heard this so many times that I even started to question it myself one day. 
Here it is:
“I bake the [frozen] French fries instead of frying them.”  Meaning, they are healthy because I’m eating “baked” French fries instead of fried French fries.
Here’s the problem:
Frozen French fries are pre-fried.  Yes, you are saving additional fat and calories by not re-frying them (I did not even know people did this!), but, unfortunately, eating a “baked” French fry is still the equivalent of eating a regular French fry.  They were already fried and processed before they were frozen so they are already depleted of nutrients before they even hit your freezer.  Sorry. L
Here’s what one manufacturer says on its website about the pre-frying process:
Are your frozen French fries already fried?
Yes, some of our products are par fried in vegetable oil. Par frying is a hot, fast, frying method that prepares the product for the cooking instructions as noted on the package. All of our products require additional preparation/cooking prior to eating; they are not considered Ready to Eat.

More bad news:  Frozen sweet potato fries are the same way.  Please don’t think you are choosing a much “healthier” option with those.
The good news:
If you want French fries or sweet potato fries, bake your own!  It really does not take that much time, and still retains those precious nutrients that are processed out of the frozen varieties.  Plus, by using a healthier fat option, you can stay away from the artery-clogging fats and get some of those good fats!  And it’s wayyy cheaper than buying frozen.  A win-win, I say.
Here’s a recipe for oven-roasted potatoes (I add a little ketchup and it satisfies my craving for fries every time):

If you know of a brand of frozen fries that is not “pre-fried”, please let me know!