French fries are safe during pregnancy. However, they are high in fat, calories, and sodium and should only be eaten in moderation.
In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of eating French fries, how to prepare healthy fries, and more!
Can Pregnant Women Eat French Fries?
From a safety perspective, French fries are completely fine for a pregnant woman to eat.
However, because of the nutritional considerations of eating French fries, they should only be eaten in moderation, especially if they are frozen from the grocery store or are purchased deep-fried from a restaurant or a fast food establishment.
The Pros and Cons of Eating Fries When Pregnant
Let’s begin by discussing one thing that is common to all French fries: potatoes. Whether flavored and seasoned, spiraled, thick-cut, deep-fried, air-fried, or oven-baked, potatoes are the main ingredient.
Potatoes are a great source of carbohydrates and also provide some protein, vitamins, and minerals, such as B vitamins. Sweet potato also provides vitamin A and other beneficial vitamins and minerals.
However, the preparation method also plays a significant role in the nutritional composition. French fries that are deep-fried in oil are higher in calories and fat, while those made with oven-baked and air-fried cooking methods are lower.
Most French fries are also high in sodium, especially when made in a fast food restaurant.
Let’s break down the calories, sodium, and fat content of the most common types of French fries (source: United States Department of Agriculture [USDA]).
|Type of Fries||Calories (kcal) per 100 grams||Sodium (mg) per 100 grams||Total Fat (g) per 100 grams|
|Classic French Fries||129||176||2.35|
|Steak Thick-Cut Fries||129||165||2.35|
|Sweet Potato Fries||153||282||4.71|
For reference, the American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day.
Make your French fries at home using regular or sweet potato for a healthy option. Slice the potatoes how you prefer, then lightly coat them in olive oil and bake in the oven or air-fryer.
I’m Craving Fries During Pregnancy: Is This Normal?
Food cravings during pregnancy are very common and normal. They are nothing to worry or panic about as long as you are not craving anything unsafe. In fact, it is estimated that 50 to 90 percent of pregnant women experience food cravings.
As for why pregnancy cravings occur, there are many hypotheses currently being studied. Besides cultural factors, many researchers believe that nutritional deficiencies can contribute to specific cravings (source: Frontiers in Psychology).
Therefore, craving potatoes in French fries might indicate that you are low in carbohydrates or some B vitamins.
Additionally, researchers believe that hormonal shifts during pregnancy can play a role in food cravings (source: Frontiers in Psychology). It is well-established that there are sensory alterations during pregnancy, so these changes may also cause changes in food preferences.
Regardless of the exact cause of your craving for French fries, you can satisfy it safely and healthfully by eating them in moderation.
Additionally, you could make your French fries healthier by making your own baked French fries at home. Limit the amount of oil and salt that you use and serve them with a lean protein, a piece of fruit, and some vegetables paired with a glass of pasteurized low-fat dairy for a nutritious and balanced meal.
I hope this article helped clarify how to healthfully incorporate French fries into your diet during pregnancy.
|This article has been reviewed and approved for publication in line with our editorial policy.|