So I was searching around the grocery store this evening to see if I might be able to find some sort of frozen French fries that didn’t completely break the bank when it came to eating well. I mean there really is a place for potatoes in a healthy diet, but most of it comes down to portion control.
Carbohydrates are not bad; in fact, they’re essential for human fuel. The problem is I tend to overdo them. And most frozen French fries also have preservatives and flavor enhancers and all sorts of undesirable added ingredients.
Whatever happened to good ol’ potatoes?
And I was disappointed to see that I couldn’t find my regular brand of Cascadian Farm Shoe String French Fries. Guess they don’t carry those anymore.
I thought I might take one swing by the regular frozen potato section just to see if something might be lurking there—but I was skeptical.
And then I saw them! Something I hadn’t seen before! Alexia Smart Classics Straight Cut Fries With Sea Salt!
These fries are 98% fat free, have 100 calories per serving and, coming from a brand like Alexia Foods, I know they’re all natural and something that I’d be able to find in my local Whole Foods. (Unfortunately, I wasn’t even close to there.)
Well, you didn’t have to beat me over the head with them. I grabbed a bag right away.
Serving size 3 oz
15 calories from fat
260mg sodium (11%)
20g carbohydrate (7%)
Ingredients: potatoes, canola oil, olive oil, sea salt, apple juice concentrate (to prevent browning), and citric acid (for color retention). You can’t get much more natural than that!
Could an oven-baked French fry really come in so low in calories and fat and still taste great? I was about to find out.
The first thing that I noticed about the fries were that they were oddly puffy. They baked right up in a very hot oven (450°F) in 15 minutes or so, just like the package directions claimed. I find that many times I have to cook oven fries longer than they say even though the oven thermometer says the temperature is correct.
They looked a bit greasy, even after they cooled a bit. I didn’t know yet whether that was a good thing or not, considering the promises made!
At first taste they seemed a little chewy. They weren’t really crunchy, even though they had browned up some. They had a clean potato taste, which ultimately was what you’d want. I was somewhat disappointed in the texture, though. Still, given that they were significantly lower in fat and calories than comparable French fries some compromising was to be expected.
Ketchup livened them up, but then ketchup is always really good at that. They remained chewy to the end, which was a texture that I never got completely used to—at least the first time trying them.
So I guess the bottom line here is that if you can handle the fact that these are going to feel different than regular fries when you eat them then you have a lot to gain. Oven fries are a regular staple of mine and the perfect partner with a nice veggie burger, I always have a couple of different bags in the freezer for those quick weeknight meals.
I’ll certainly be keeping these Smart Classics around in the future. (They also make crinkle cut!) Going into the holiday season we have enough places to overindulge. It’s nice to have options for balancing out some of the excess calories and fat wherever we can!