Food Fight: French Fries vs. Sweet Potato Fries



Photo by: Debbi Smirnoff ©DebbiSmirnoff

Debbi Smirnoff, DebbiSmirnoff

French fries aren’t generally considered health food, but there are many options to consider. Are you baking them, frying them or getting them at the drive-thru? Is it a healthier move to order the sweet spuds when they appear on the menu? Here are the real differences between traditional french fries and those made from sweet potatoes.

French Fries

Potatoes have a bad reputation, but they’re actually filled with good-for-you nutrients, including fiber and potassium. The calorie count is also relatively low, coming in at about 170 calories for a whole potato. Armed with this knowledge, you can easily see how a sliced and roasted spud with a drizzle of olive oil can be a healthy side dish.

If you hit up the freezer section for a bag of fries, every 3-ounce portion (about 12 pieces) contains 120 calories, 5 grams of fat and 300 milligrams of sodium — but who eats only 12? Fast-food fries can get you into even more trouble, with a medium-sized order averaging 400 calories and 17 grams of fat. Sodium levels can range from 300 to more than 1,200 milligrams, depending on how those fries are seasoned.

Sweet Potato Fries

One medium sweet potato contains slightly more calories, coming in at 183. These orange spuds are exploding with antioxidant-rich vitamin A and also contain equally hefty doses of fiber and potassium. Sweet potatoes contain about 15 grams more carbohydrates per serving, but that’s no reason to pass on these tubers; they can also make super-tasty and healthy baked fries.

The same 3-ounce serving of frozen sweet potato fries contains 140 calories, 5 grams of fat and typically less sodium than the regular fries. Sweet potato fries at a restaurant also land in the 400-calorie neighborhood, and the fat content also averages 20 grams; sodium can add up quickly.

Winner: Homemade and baked is always the way to go, and if that’s how you make your fries, mix it up with both white and sweet potatoes.

Try Ina Garten's Baked Sweet Potato Fries or Ellie Krieger's Baked Garlic 'Fries'

Related Links:

Cooked vs. Raw: Some Veggies Like it Hot

All the Ways to Eat Cauliflower

Trouble Fitting Healthy Meals into Your Budget? — Start with These Tips

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Star in Training

The Next Food Network Star winner Aarti Sequeira takes us through the making of her new show, Aarti Party.

Food Fight!: Pancakes vs. French Toast

Which one of these breakfast staples is the healthiest choice? The answer might surprise you.

Food Fight: Sweet Potatoes vs. White Potatoes

We’ve put these tubers head to head; find out which comes out on top.

Carolina vs. Colorado: Regional Food Fight

Super Bowl 50 pits a Southeastern barbecue powerhouse against a Colorado city known for stellar Mexican food and microbrews, promising a fierce battle on the food front.

Food Fight: Beer vs. Liquor

Labor Day is around the corner—should you grab an ice cold beer or choose a spirits-filled cocktail? This battle is a tricky one…

Food Fight! Lemonade vs. Iced Tea

Looking to quench your thirst with one of these summertime classics? First, check out which drink came out on top in this battle of the beverages.

Food Fight: Agave vs. Honey

Food fight! Agave versus honey: which is the healthier choice?

Food Fight: Cappuccino vs. Latte!

Cappuccino and latte! Both have their merits. but which one is the healthier pick? There's only one way to find out: Get these beverages in the boxing ring!

Food Fight!: Smoothie vs. Juice

Should you gulp down a glass of refreshing juice or opt for the blended deliciousness of a smoothie? We pit these two foods against each other in this latest food fight.

Food Fight!: Pasta vs. Pizza

These two Italian delights are going head-to-head! See which mouthwatering favorite will come out on top.