What Should I Order Instead of Fries?

By Mary Parsons, MS, RD

Question: What should I order instead of fries?

We’re not saying you can’t savor an occasional fried treat – we’re dietitians, not maniacs! But we all know that fries can derail an otherwise healthy meal. Whether you’re eating fast food or fine dining, restaurants today are making it easier than ever to select healthier alternatives to fries.

The most common and most reliably healthy side options include side salads, fruit, and steamed/sautéed/roasted veggies. You might be noticing a pattern: basically any side with fruits or veggies as the main ingredient tends to offer the most nutritional bang for your buck; just be aware of any added butter or creamy sauces. And while you may want to skip the high-calorie bacon bits and sour cream that often accompany baked potatoes, the potato itself is a nutritious side option (as long as the portion size is reasonable – watch out for those blimp-sized steakhouse spuds!).

At your chosen restaurant, take a moment to check out the menu for sides and a la carte options; most restaurants are happy to substitute your side of choice in place of fries. They may charge a nominal fee, but think of it as an investment in your health!

When you visit a Healthy Dining restaurant, it’s even easier to make the best choices. Just check the restaurant’s page for our dietitian-approved choices, complete with detailed nutrition information.