Even though many nutritionists are quick to dispel the myth of the “Freshman 15,” explaining that students typically gain 2-3 pounds their freshman year, not 15 or 20, I feel like I came pretty close. I had French fries with every meal, along with a heaping side of Ranch dressing to dip ’em in. Biscuits and gravy? Add some waffle fries! Pizza and soda? How ’bout some garlic fries? A healthy salad? Bring on the potato wedges!
It was quite a love affair, I’m ashamed to admit, and over the course of the year I watched the scale climb — about 10 pounds’ worth of climbing. My wider waistline didn’t squelch my cravings, though.
That’s why I needed a healthier alternative. And that’s why I’ve found an entirely new category of ‘fry’ to crave: The Sweet Potato Fry.
Whether they’re baked crispy or — as I prefer ’em — a bit mushy with a hint of sweetness, they are completely satisfying. Plus, since each potato packs your entire day’s worth of vitamin A and nearly half your recommended allotment of vitamin C, there’s no reason to feel guilty for indulging in this savory-yet-sweet side.
Utensils required: vegetable peeler (unless you like the skins on — it’s more nutritious that way, anyway), knife, cutting board, mixing bowl, measuring cups, baking sheet, oven mitts, oven
Ingredients (serves 6-7, depending on their appetite for deliciousness):
- 6 sweet potatoes
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Time commitment: 15-20 minutes to prepare, 10-12 minutes to bake
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. While it heats, rinse the potatoes and slice ’em in half horizontally, then cut them into strips about as thick as your pinky finger.
2. In the mixing bowl, combine the honey, cinnamon, lemon juice and olive oil. Once they’re thoroughly combined, add in all the sweet potato slices, tossing them so they’re lightly glazed in the sauce. (Even if it looks like they’re barely coated, trust me — the flavor will be there. If they’re dripping before they bake, they’ll turn out mushy. Still delicious, but not very fry-like.)
3. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet. It’s okay if they touch.
4. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Some of the edges may blacken, but never fear — that’s a sign of deliciousness. Just don’t let the entire fry get that way.