12 French fry recipes that are actually good for you

Take a deep (fried) breath: These tasty fry alternatives are completely guilt free.
by Brianna Steinhilber /  / Updated  / Source: NBC News
Image: Cajun sweet potato fries
Cajun sweet potato friesMinimalist Baker
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It's National French Fry Day — and we aren't surprised that fried spuds have earned themselves their own holiday. A recent survey on America's favorite comfort foods found that French fries clock in at number five. Let's be honest, who doesn't salivate at the smell of warm, crispy fries dusted with salt? But the beloved fast-food side is notoriously high in unhealthy fat and calories, meaning anyone still clinging to the healthy diet they adopted in the new year has put them on the "forbidden foods" list.

But before you ban French fries from the menu forever, take a deep (fried) breath.

First of all, potatoes aren’t the problem. In fact, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating them boiled, baked or mashed doesn't pose the same health risks as eating them fried. We all know that hitting the drive-thru comes with a side of saturated fat and sodium. So if you’re craving fries, baking up a batch in the oven is still very much on the table as a part of a healthy diet.

Secondly, there are so many ways to elevate fries from a fast-food indulgence to a healthy (and surprisingly impressive looking) side dish — from playing with different herbs and spices to getting creative with veggies.

Do we have you craving a side of fries? Here are 12 recipes to add to your meal rotation that will keep them on the menu, but not showing up on your waistline.

Skinny oven fries
Skinny oven friesHealthy Seasonal Recipes

Skinny Oven Fries

Image: Oven baked curly fries
Oven baked curly friesFresh April Flours

Oven Baked Curly Fries

Image: Crispy baked avocado fries
Crispy baked avocado friesChocolate Covered Katie

Crispy Baked Avocado Fries

Image: Butternut squash fries
Butternut squash friesMy Fussy Eater

Butternut Squash Fries

Image: Paprika parsnip fries with Sriracha dipping sauce
Paprika parsnip fries with Sriracha dipping saucePaleOMG

Paprika Parsnip Fries with Sriracha Dipping Sauce

Image: Grilled carrots with chipotle lime aioli
Grilled Carrots With Chipotle Lime AioliThe Gourmet RD

Grilled Carrot Fries with Chipotle Lime Aioli

Image: Crispy baked portobello mushroom fries
Crispy baked portobello mushroom fries

Crispy Baked Portobello Mushroom Fries

Image: Cajun sweet potato fries
Cajun sweet potato friesMinimalist Baker

Cajun Sweet Potato Fries

Image: Crispy parmesan zucchini fries
Crispy parmesan zucchini friesWholesome Yum

Crispy Parmesan Zucchini Fries

Yucca Fries with Mojo Mayonnaise
Yucca Fries with Mojo MayonnaiseSalt and Wind

Yucca Fries with Mojo Mayonnaise

Image: Spicy spiralized shoe string jicama fries
Spicy spiralized shoe string jicama fries.Inspiralized

Spicy Spiralized Shoe String Jicama Fries

Image: Easy roasted sunchoke "steak fries"
Easy roasted sunchoke "steak fries"Olive and Herb

Easy Roasted Sunchoke “Steak Fries”

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