What are the Best Alternatives to Fried Food?

K. Testa

Fried food makes up a significant part of many people’s diets. Most enjoy it for the taste, despite the evidence that is constantly being presented about its health risks. There are a number of alternatives to eating unhealthy fried foods. One option is to avoid frying altogether and cook foods using other methods. If someone prefers to fry his or her food at home, however, there are certain oils that are healthier to use than others. In addition, many restaurants, including several fast food chains, are following the nutrition advice of medical professionals by offering healthier choices on their menus.

French fries are a popular, but unhealthy, fried food.
French fries are a popular, but unhealthy, fried food.

The medical community frequently warns the public about the numerous health risks associated with eating fried food. One common concern is the danger of becoming overweight or obese. Heart disease, high blood pressure, Type II diabetes, and acne are additional examples of potential health problems that can result from eating fried food. Some people claim that eating large amounts of these items is also associated with an increased incidence of certain types of cancers. They believe that hazardous chemicals, which are released from oils heated to a very high temperature during the frying process, may harm people.

Onion rings may be baked in the oven instead of deep fried.
Onion rings may be baked in the oven instead of deep fried.

Some examples of popular fried foods are french fries, fried chicken, fried seafood, potato chips, and doughnuts. Rather than consuming large amounts of fried food, one can make healthier diet choices. Nearly anything that is fried can be prepared another way, such as baked, grilled, broiled, or steamed. Those who cook at home can make healthy diet choices by opting for cooking methods other than frying. For instance, people who like fried chicken or french fries can bake the chicken or the potatoes in the oven. Similarly, someone who enjoys eating fried fish might try broiling or grilling it instead. For those who still prefer to fry certain foods, some types of oil such as canola oil, are considered better than others for frying.

Given their busy, fast-paced lifestyles, many people frequently purchase their meals at restaurants and fast food establishments. A number of eateries are making more of an effort to include healthy diet choices on their menus. They often publicize their products’ nutrition information as well. Since fried foods are a staple at many types of restaurants, one option for someone who is dieting is to choose items on the menu that are not fried. Typical healthy options could include salads, fruit, baked potatoes, soup, and sandwiches.

Canola oil can tolerate high heats, making it a good choice for stir-fry cooking.
Canola oil can tolerate high heats, making it a good choice for stir-fry cooking.

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Discussion Comments


@rebelgurl28 – I like your tip about toasting your tortillas rather than frying them. I will have to try that. I am also going to try baking my own tortilla chips like you suggested. Thank you for the ideas.

I try to find alternatives to frying whenever I can, which means I usually use recipes that don’t use a frying method at all. When a recipe requires frying there is usually no satisfactory alternative.

One successful recipe I tried recently was for pistachio encrusted chicken that was baked in the oven. It was a real winner with my family.


When I was growing up it was a tradition in my family to have tacos every Saturday night. I remember my mom standing over the stove and frying up the corn tortillas for the taco shells.

When I started making my own tacos I didn’t want to fry the shells so I just steamed them, but there really seemed to be something missing and they fell apart easily.

Then I discovered that I could toast the tortillas over the burners on my stove. Although I prefer gas burners it is still possible to do on electric burners. This has been a very satisfactory alternative to frying tortillas.

You can also toast corn tortilla triangles in the oven to substitute for fried tortilla chips.

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