Body, Food & Drinks, Health & Wellness

Recipes and Alternatives for the Fry Obsessed Who Aren’t Willing to Compromise on Flavor


This article was written by The Zillennial Zine’s spring editorial intern Megan Pavek. Find her on Instagram at @megan.pavek. If you would like to share an article with The Zillennial, send us an email at

While scrolling through my daily notifications and social media feed, a glaring CNN headline caught my eye: New research suggests that french fries may be linked to depression. Nowadays, people are used to negative news and depressing headlines, but this one felt especially terrifying. The world already has enough going on, and it felt unnecessary to take the joy out of eating french fries. The average person understands deep fried potatoes are not the healthiest choice, but sometimes it’s needed to feel better after excessive amounts of  doomscrolling or just life in general. For the sake of begrudgingly being healthy and combating depression, here is some helpful information on the healthy french fry alternative.

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Remember that making french fries at home or with an air-fryer instead of purchasing them from a food establishment makes a huge difference. Some of these alternatives may not come across as super low-cal in the grand scheme of things, but they are much healthier in comparison to classic fries prepared the traditional way (deep fried, in baths of oil).

Freezer Aisle Finds

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Alexia is a popular brand that can be found in the freezer aisle of most big-box grocery stores. Their website advertises the Smart Classics line as “roasted, 98% fat free, 0 grams of trans fat, and 100 calories per serving.” This is likely the closest you’ll get to a healthier version of classic french fries, aside from the Cascadian Farm brand that’s known for guilt-free and organic straight cut fries.

Many are drawn to sweet potatoes as an equally delicious substitute, but keep an eye on the nutritional label before assuming that they’re automatically a healthy choice. Are they still better than McDonald’s french fries? Yes – and you get extra points for air frying without oil. Additionally, keep an eye out for sneaky amounts of sodium or other additives.

Alternative Recipes

If the frozen bags of pre-made fries aren’t doing it for you, try cooking them from scratch at home! Keep in mind that using an airfryer is typically the easiest and most consistent method for cooking, but you can also get by using an oven. Hacks for making the best fries at home include soaking thinly cut potatoes  in cold water for at least 30 minutes and patting them dry. Then add your seasoning and toss in a small amount of cornstarch before cooking. The cornstarch helps obtain that level of crispness that is often difficult to replicate at home.

It’s time to unlock the secret behind a healthy french fry alternative; jicama (hi-kuh-muh). This root vegetable is similar to a potato, but has a lot less carbs and is a favorite amongst the Keto community. Jicama also has a number of vitamins and other health benefits that give it a better reputation than the potato. Cooking these fries is even easier because you can buy pre-cut at the grocery store. When preparing the fries, all you need to do is toss in avocado oil and your favorite seasoning. In 15 minutes you’ll have a much healthier version of your favorite snack!

Across the internet, users have been trying out other root vegetables as potato substitutes, such as rutabaga and turnips. Additionally, you can try pickles, green beans, and plantains to make your own healthier version of french fries. It’s fun to get creative in the kitchen, and most importantly be in control of the ingredients being used. As long as you’re cutting out unhealthy oils and breading, most french fry recipes are healthier. At the end of the day, french fries being linked to depression can serve as a reminder to cut back on fried food in general, but that doesn’t mean you have to forgo your favorite snacks or compromise on flavor!

Will you be trying jicama fries? Share any other recipes or cooking tips for healthy french fry alternatives with us below!

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