Meal Makeover: Baked Instead of Fried
Fish and chips, fried chicken, French fries, onion blossoms … It’s hard to resist some fried favorites. But you can — without losing out on flavor — when you find tasty ways to bake instead of fry. Using wheat germ in the baked versions of your favorite fried foods adds texture and crunch that will make you feel like you’re indulging more than you actually are!
Is it really worth it to change from fried to baked dishes when you can? For the most part, yes. While some lighter versions of fried foods keep fat and calories in check, most fried recipes bump up calories and fat considerably compared to their baked counterparts. Eating too many fried foods is associated with weight gain and increased risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer.
Early last summer we asked our Facebook community to tell us what summer recipe they would like to see made over into a healthier version. Fried chicken won by a landslide, and our new Kretschmer Wheat Germ Oven-Fried Chicken recipe offers a good illustration of how baking offers a healthier advantage than fried dishes. While a serving of traditional fried chicken can weigh in at more than 360 calories, 20 grams of fat and 1,000 milligrams of sodium, our healthier baked version contains 280 calories, 10 grams of fat and 370 milligrams of sodium. Quite a difference!
Not sure how to make the switch from fried to baked in your meals? Try these ideas:
French Fries: Put away the deep fryer and instead cut a pound of baking potatoes into strips, leaving the peel on for more nutrition. Toss with 1/2 tablespoon canola oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt and bake on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray in a 450° F oven for about 20 minutes or until golden. Serves 2 (can be doubled). Like your fries with a kick? Add 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic when you toss potatoes with the oil and salt, or mix in 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper. For even more nutrition, try using sweet potatoes.
Fish and Chips: Wheat germ in the coating helps baked fish attain a texture and crunch—not to mention added nutrition—that won’t make you miss the deep-fried version. In our Caribbean Crunch Snapper, we mix wheat germ with jerk seasoning and lime, topping it with a sweet and spicy mango chutney.
Chicken Strips: It’s easy to boost nutrition in these kid favorites. Our Baked Chicken Fingers with Honey Mustard Sauce are quick and easy kid pleasers that will make you feel much better than grabbing for the box in the freezer.
What fried recipes would you like to see made over?