French Fry Alternatives to Curb Your Cravings

By Laurie Fanelli in Healthy Feeling

In an attempt to control the high-calorie habit of snacking on fries—of which you’re generally supposed to limit your intake—I’ve spent hours creating recipes for French fry alternatives for my family. When my nephews come for a visit, I especially enjoy cooking nutritious, delicious snacks that help them stay on a healthy path as they grow up.

Healthy eating helps kids (and you) avoid an array of medical problems, including diabetes and asthma. Try some of these tasty and wholesome junk food substitutes and say farewell to fries once and for all.

Kale Chips

Kale chips are quick and easy, and their colorful hues make them one of the most fun and healthy alternatives for kids. Vitamin K, vitamin A, and vitamin C are three of the most abundant nutrientsfound in just 1 cup of this cooked leafy green snack. Kale chips can be made in advance, too, so you can take them with you on the go—a great way to avoid that afternoon trip to the vending machine. They’re also perfect to bring along on a picnic.

Kale chips

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 3 large leaves of green kale
  • 3 large leaves of red kale
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Wash and dry the kale, fold each leaf in half, and tear the leaves away from the stems. Discard the stems and tear the leaves into bite-size pieces, placing each piece on a cookie sheet and showering with a bit of olive oil. Top them off with salt and pepper to taste. Place the kale chips into an oven that has been preheated to 400° Fahrenheit. Cook for 15 minutes, tossing every five minutes. Add a bit of sea salt and serve.

Zucchini Bites

The key to zucchini bites as French fry alternatives is to combat some of the vegetable’s natural moisture. You can do that with breadcrumbs for a tasty, crunchy exterior. I love the flavor of zucchini, and its cube shape makes this snack fun for little fingers to pick up (thus, it’s a hit with all my nephews).

To get started, here’s what you’ll need:

  • 3 medium zucchini, cut into cubes
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. parsley
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Pour one tablespoon of olive oil over your zucchini cubes and toss them to make sure each piece is covered. Then, combine breadcrumbs with the oregano, parsley, and garlic powder. Toss the zucchini in breadcrumbs mixture and place on a baking sheet, which should be coated with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Place the baking sheet into an oven, preheated to 425° F. Cook for 20 minutes, flipping the zucchini halfway through the cooking process. Top with salt and pepper, and enjoy!

Polenta Fries

Polenta fries are my favorite of all French fry alternatives out there. This dish takes a bit of prep, but is totally worth the effort when you’re craving a salty, crispy, and delicious treat. I like to make the polenta mixture during the week so that I have the fries at a moment’s craving that weekend.

Here are the ingredients you should gather:

  • 1/2 cup yellow corn meal (polenta)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. parsley
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil

First bring two cups of water to a boil. Add the 1/2 cup of yellow corn meal and simmer for about 20 minutes, slowly adding the last cup of water throughout the process. Stir frequently. Add salt, pepper, parsley, and keep stirring. When the polenta begins to pull away from the walls of the pot, it’s done.


Pour your polenta into a 2×4 glass container, letting it cool to room temperature. Cover it and place it in the fridge for at least two hours but up to 72 hours. After the polenta has cooled sufficiently, remove it from the fridge and slice it into the shape of fries.


Coat a cookie sheet with one tablespoon of olive oil. Place the polenta slices on the pan and drizzle the remaining tablespoon of olive oil on top of the polenta fries. Preheat the oven to 420° F. When it’s all set, cook for 45 minutes, flipping the polenta fries every 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

What are your healthy alternatives to French fries? Tell us on Twitter!

Image source: Laurie Fanelli

This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.

Why It’s Good

Snacking is inevitable, especially with kids in tow, but there are tons of tasty, healthy options in contrast to the typical high-calorie treats. Try these delicious French fry alternatives and your family will feel just as satisfied. Plus, you have fun, new recipes to try out and exciting, colorful foods to add to your diet.