Better Choice: Sweet Potato Fries vs. French Fries

French fries are one of the most commonly eaten snack foods around, and are also one of the single most fattening foods you can eat. The average serving of French fries provides a whopping 450 calories, which makes it an incredibly high-calorie food (especially since it’s usually eaten alongside the main dish).  

The high calorie count of French fries isn’t even the top reason to avoid them. Unless made at home and prepared with healthy oils, the typical, commercial French fries are full of rancid oils (more on this in a moment) and have a very high salt content. Research shows that regular consumption of foods high in both salt and fat is a recipe for over-eating and weight gain. 

One last and important point to remember about French fries is that they are usually accompanied by sauces that are packed full of sugar and artificial ingredients, such as commercial ketchups or ranch dips.  

In fact, one study found French fries to be the number-one food most likely to cause weight gain! 

If you (like many) feel sad at the prospect of giving up your favorite comfort food, fear not. Sweet potato fries are becomingly increasingly popular (meaning you can sometimes even find them at restaurants) or you can easily make them at home. Be aware that sweet potato fries ordered out are sometimes prepared in unhealthy oils and are very high in salt, so making them in your own kitchen is your best bet.  

Why Sweet Potato Fries are Better Than French Fries 

While homemade French fries are superior to commercially prepared fries, homemade sweet potato fries are even better, and here’s why: 

High in Vitamins, Minerals and Plant Compounds 

Sweet potatoes are impressively high in nutrients, particularly vitamins C, A, E, B5 and B6, potassium and manganese. Furthermore, this tuber vegetable offers important plant compounds with their own unique health benefits, such as beta carotene (which gives them their orange color), chlorogenic acid and anthocyanins, which are both powerful antioxidants shown to protect against oxidative damage. 

Excellent Source of Vitamin A 

Vitamin A is most commonly known for the role it plays in vision health, but not only can deficiency cause vision problems, it can also seriously affect our immune health and even increase mortality rates for pregnant and lactating women and children. The good news is that sweet potatoes are one of the best dietary sources of vitamin A, as the type of vitamin A they contain is particularly bioavailable (easily absorbed by the body).  

Sweet Potatoes May Prevent Cancer 

Largely thanks to sweet potato’s antioxidant content, they are considered to be a great addition to an anti-cancer diet. Studies show that the antioxidants found in sweet potatoes can help to prevent excessive free radical damage, which is linked to cancer cell proliferation. Purple sweet potatoes might be especially effective. 

More Balanced Blood Sugar 

Whereas French fries can quickly raise blood sugar levels, sweet potatoes could help to balance them. Studies have specifically looked at Caiapo sweet potatoes, which are a white-skinned variety. These have been shown to decrease fasting blood glucose, as well as LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. 

Now, on to a recipe! There are many delicious ways to make sweet potato fries, but this one gives them an amazing combination of sweetness, saltiness and crunchiness.  

Crunchy Sweet Potato Fries Recipe

Ingredients: 

  • 2 sweet potatoes (more or less depending on how many people you’ll serve) 
  • 1-2 tablespoons coconut flour, sifted (substitute corn starch here if you don’t have coconut flour) 
  • Extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil or melted grass-fed butter (about 1 tablespoon per sweet potato) 
  • Salt and pepper 
  • Curry powder 

Instructions: 

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. 
  2. Wash your sweet potatoes, peel if you’d like (if they are organic, this isn’t necessary). Cut them into fry-shaped pieces to your liking. Don’t make them too big, or they won’t be crispy. 
  3. Toss all fries into a big bowl and mix together with the oil/fat of your choice, coconut flour or cornstarch, salt, pepper and spices.  
  4. Now, spread out your fries evenly on a greased or non-stick baking pan (don’t layer rows or they could turn out soggy). Place them in the oven for about 15 minutes, remove to turn, and cook for another 15 minutes. 
  5. Allow to cool and enjoy!