“They’re like French fries but without as many of the calories and fat,” said LifeVest member Laura Meier.
Bingo. Laura’s description of rutabaga fries sounded great to us, and it didn’t take us long before we set out to discover its truth.
Since joining the program, LifeVester Laura is over halfway to her goal of losing 50 pounds, and now has a new goal of maintaining a healthy lifestyle for the long run.
“We’re going to keep encouraging each other and thinking smarter so we can remain feeling good,” says Laura who set out on her journey to health in partnership with her husband. “You have to think long-term. Otherwise, it’s all for nothing. Why go back when you could feel good for life?”
Laura told us she loves finding new ways to transform some of her favorite recipes into healthier versions. It keeps her feeling both satisfied and excited about continuing on.
She has always loved french fries, and we do too, so we were thrilled to hear about her latest version that enables her to remain on the right track toward her goals.
Rutabagas have just 1/2 the calories and 1/2 of the carbs that potatoes contain. So, inserting them into the standard oven-baked fry equation sounded like a genius idea to us.
Often mistaken for a turnip, the root veggie has that same sweet bite of a turnip with the starchiness of a potato. This makes them perfect for slicing up into flavorful fries, ones that luckily come without too much detriment to your diet.
At just 65 calories per cup, the winter veggie (in season Oct. – March) has become no small fry in our recipe book. Rather, thanks to Laura, it’s our new fry-making go-to.
We were thrilled with the crispy results upon our first batch, and are excited to experiment with other spices and herbs. We’d encourage you to do the same after first trying the chili powder version below.
As Laura shares, “It makes us, especially my husband, think we’re having a burger and fries.” She serves her ruta-fries alongside turkey burgers with lettuce swapped for the bun, a combo we can get behind.
Let us know in the comments, how do you make your favorite comfort foods healthier? We’d love to hear what you’re doing to transform some of your favorite recipes, and thank you to Laura for sharing this idea with us!
By Emma Fogt, MBA, MS, RD, LDN, FAND
Have you ever heard of Swai (pronounced “swy”)? It’s a white fish popping up a lot now in grocery stores and at local fishmongers. It’s similar to a milder version of catfish, with sweet and flakey filets that come at an affordable price.
Swai is river-farmed, mostly in Vietnam, as is considered a sustainability-friendly fish that provides high quality protein at a highly attractive price. At $7.99 a pound you can’t beat Swai at the market when you compare it to the $14.99-$19.99/lb of most other fish. Its trendy filets are also light in calories, weighing in at only 25 calories per ounce. That one ounce will also contain a full five grams of protein, meaning a six-ounce serving size will bring 30 grams of protein to your plate. That’s all at the cost of just 150 calories.
Swai is also a holder of omega-3s, containing approximately 110mg of the heart healthy fats per ounce. While not as high as the 500 mg found in wild herring, salmon and mackerel, it still brings a significant contribution to the daily recommendation of 500 mg/day.
Following is a simple preparation that draws upon the fish’s natural sweetness. Worried about fishy smells wafting into the air? The secret is to utilize a milk base. I kid you not, the milk in this recipe will lightly cook the fish and provide moisture all around, while also reducing both fishy odors and the tendency to have a dry filet on your plate.
If you prefer not to use butter, swap it for extra virgin olive oil, a heart healthy substitution that’s equally delicious. To go lighter on calories, cut the fat in half to just 1 tablespoon. Serve alongside a whole grain rice pilaf, couscous or quinoa, along with a simply steamed green vegetable such as asparagus, broccoli, or green beans.