12 July 12 National French Fry Day on July 13

Did you know this "Fryday" July 13 is also National French Fry Day? Why we need a day to celebrate a food that Americans eat, on average, four times a week, equal to nearly 30 pounds a year, is not clear. Perhaps it's just another misnomer that this particular food has around it.

The biggest mistake about French fries is that they are not even French. They actually originated in Belgium, but it's believed that Thomas Jefferson is responsible for designating them as French fries when he had them served at the White House in 1802, requesting, "potatoes, fried in the French manner."

Traditional French fries are generally not the healthiest preparation of a potato, but that doesn't mean we can't "celebrate" National French Fry Day in good fashion while also keeping our waistlines in check.

If you want to make some healthful fries, first ditch the frying oil. Baking fries can still produce a crunchy end-product without loading up on heavy, greasy oils. One simple baked fry recipe is as follows:

Brush four medium baking potatoes, cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch wedges, with 2 teaspoons of olive oil. In a bowl, toss potatoes with chopped cilantro, a 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper and remaining olive oil and bake on a lined tray in the oven at 450 degrees for 12 minutes. Turn potatoes, sprinkle a 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese on the potatoes and bake another 10-12 minutes. Nutrition Facts: 8 wedges are 155 calories, 4 grams protein, 22 grams carbs, 6 grams fat.

The other trick for slimming down the French fry is to avoid all the sugar-loaded condiments we tend to dip them in. Instead of ketchup, try salsa or whip together a fancy fruit relish. Mustard is always a good option. If you can't go without having ketchup (or even mayo) at the end of your fry, look for the healthiest varieties at your grocer.

Of course, you can also choose healthier potatoes for your fries. Sweet potatoes are a popular alternative to baking potatoes. They are great sources of fiber, if you leave the skins on, and they are chocked full of vitamin A. Sweet potatoes do not have fewer calories than regular potatoes, and they do contain natural sugars, but they do have less starch and may not need that extra dip of a condiment to be tasty.

Ryan Newhouse

Ryan Newhouse is the Marketing Director for MyNetDiary and writes for a variety of publications. He wants you to check out MyNetDiary on Instagram!

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Foods & Recipes/Potatoes & French Fries

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