Are Hash Browns Healthy?- A Nutritional Take

More people are embracing healthy lifestyles. It is reflected more so in their dieting. There has been an emphasis on eating healthy foods, especially in the wake of increased dietary illnesses such as diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure. 

Hash browns are delicious and easy to prepare the snack. They require very few ingredients; they do not require much time to prepare.

It makes them a popular alternative to fries and baked potatoes. They are also relatively cheap to prepare.

Many people are never quite sure what potato-based foods are healthy and should avoid. Hash browns have been a contentious topic for nutritionists in this regard.

So, Are Hash Browns Healthy?

Hash browns can be healthy. Whether or not they are will depend mainly on what ingredients you use to prepare them. If made with the right ingredients, hash browns can be healthier than most potato-based alternatives such as fries and baked potatoes.

A Nutritional Breakdown Of Hash Browns

Hash browns can be healthy if prepared correctly. How do hash browns compare with fries? Let us take a look at the comparison:

Calories:

For every 100 grams of hash browns you consume, you get 326 calories. The value is pegged lower at 312 calories per 100 grams for fries. 

Though the difference is negligible, it indicates that hash browns are slightly more likely to cause weight gain than regular fries.

Fat:

As for fat, you will be getting 22 grams in every 100 grams of hash browns. For fries, fat is lower at 15 grams for every 100 grams.

The unsaturated fat composition also happens to be higher in hash browns, accounting for 22.27% of the total fat composition. The figure is lower for fries, at only 15.3%.

Based on the values, we can conclude that hash browns are slightly more carcinogenic than regular fries, and therefore, should be consumed in moderation.

Cholesterol:

The cholesterol composition for hash brown in every 100 grams is negligible. It accounts for 0% of the total composition of hash browns. The same is the case for fries, with the composition being negligible.

Having such low cholesterol levels makes eating hash browns less likely to cause arterial blockages.

Sodium:

The sodium composition of hash browns per 100 grams is 518 mg. The composition in fries is less than half of that, with 210 mg.

Sodium helps regulate muscular impulses. If consumed in excess, it causes cardiovascular ailments such as high blood pressure.

Protein:

Though not a reliable source of protein, hash browns will provide 2.6 grams for every 100 grams consumed. With fries, you would be getting more protein at just 3.4 grams per 100-gram serving.

Sugar:

Hash browns’ sugar composition is nearly negligible, at just 0.2 grams for every 100 grams. As for fries, the composition is slightly higher, being at 0.3 grams.

Though the values are minuscule, they imply that fries are more likely to cause diabetes than hash browns.

It is worth noting that the above comparison has been made using standard hash browns instead of the option with the healthier ingredients.

How To Make Healthy Hash Browns

If you are trying to make healthy hash browns, here is a simple recipe that you can follow:

Ingredients:

  1. Potatoes
  2. Olive oil
  3. Black pepper
  4. Salt
  5. Paprika
  6. Cayenne pepper

Preparation:

Step 1: Peel your potatoes and dispose of the skin. Shred the potatoes into thin and consistent strips.

Step 2: You will need to get rid of the excess starch. To do this, immerse your shredded potatoes into a bowl of cold water.

Step 3: Stir the water and drain. Repeat this process two more times until the water is relatively clear.

Step 4: Pour the olive oil into a pan, use a medium-sized flame. Once the oil has been heated, evenly lay the pieces of shredded potatoes into the pan, ensuring that they are exposed to the oil.

Step 5: Add all the condiments and spices, that is, paprika, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper. Stir for even coating.

Step 6:Leave the potatoes to cook while flipping them regularly to archive an even brown coat on either side.

Step 7: Drain the excess oil from the hash browns using a paper towel.

Serve hot with dipping sauce

How To Make Healthier Hash Browns 

Hash brown can be relatively unhealthy when they are made using some ingredients. You should, therefore, strive to use the healthiest alternative available.

So, how do you make healthier hash browns?

1. Substitute regular oil for olive oil

Olive oil is far healthier than regular cooking oil. It contains no cholesterol and no unsaturated fats.

It is, therefore, less carcinogenic. It is healthier for your heart and less likely to cause cardiovascular ailments such as thrombosis and arterial clogging.

The monosaturated acids are also relatively healthy, as it helps lower the level of low-density lipoprotein in the body. It will make you healthier and less obese compared to regular oil.

Olive oil also improves your overall metabolism, which is excellent for weight loss.

2. Pink Salt

Pink salt is a rare type of salt native to the Himalayan region. It is available in grocery stores. It has more significant health benefits than regular salt.

It has a lower sodium composition than regular sea salt. It also has several trace elements as part of its composition, including zinc, potassium, and magnesium. It, therefore, provides more minerals to your body than regular salt.

Himalayan pink salt is associated with a reduced risk of hypertension and provides the body with balanced pH. It is also believed to regulate blood sugar.

3. Avoid re-heating cold hash browns in oil.

Many people are oblivious to the health risks of re-heating hash browns in oil. It applies to a wide range of foods, not just hash browns.

Re-heating food in oil increases the level of cholesterol, even if you dry them using paper towels. Using oil to re-heat food also causes it to be more carcinogenic.

Instead of using oil to re-heat hash browns, you could use an oven on a low heat setting. Using a microwave with the food appropriately sealed is also a better alternative to using oil.

4. Go green

You can never go wrong with adding vegetables to your hash browns. There are so many recipes that allow you to get creative with vegetables and combine different flavors.

Some vegetables that go great with hash browns are onions, zucchinis, carrots, and lettuce.

Not only do they make hash browns taste better, but they also add plenty of vitamins. It increases the overall nutritional value of the meal.

Do not be afraid to experiment with non-conventional vegetables; you might discover a tasty new combo for your hash browns.

5. Drain properly

Do not be in a hurry while cooking. Ensure that you do your best to drain out the excess oil before you serve. Draining oil from the hash brown makes it less fatty and less carcinogenic. It is also an excellent way to get rid of those sneaky calories.

You should also ensure that you drain out the excess starch before cooking the potatoes. Stir and rinse out the cloudy water at least through two cycles. 

How Do Hash Browns Compare To Potato Pancakes From A Nutritional Perspective?

Potato pancakes and hash browns are both tasty snacks. Here is how they compare to each other:

Potato pancakes have more cholesterol per 100 grams in comparison to hash browns. It makes them an unhealthy alternative, as they are likely to cause heart disease.

Potato pancakes, however, have some nutritional benefits in that they have fewer calories than hash browns. They also offer more protein (6.0 grams) per 100 grams than hash browns.

Potato pancakes also have more dietary fiber, which is non-existent in hash browns. It implies that potato pancakes are better for your digestive health.

When compared to hash browns, potato pancakes have a higher composition of both vitamin C and vitamin B6. When cooked with vegetables, however, the composition of vitamins will definitely be higher in hash browns.

Aside from the numerous nutritional advantages that potato pancakes seem to hold, the main concern is still the level of cholesterol. By using vegetable-based oil such as olive oil, you can get lower levels of cholesterol in olive oil.

Conclusion

The emphasis on eating healthy has taken precedence in recent times. Many people are educated on the long-term implications of unhealthy food. People are now becoming increasingly aware of diet-based illnesses and their ramifications on their health.

As for hash browns, their healthiness and nutritional value hinge on what ingredients have been used in the preparation process. They can either be relatively healthy or very unhealthy. It is recommended that you use the ingredients we have listed in the article for the sake of your health.

Elizabeth Willett (MA)
Elizabeth Willett (MA)
Elizabeth Willett has an M.A in health and fitness, is an experienced trainer, and enjoys teaching children about healthy eating habits. She loves to cook nutritious meals for her family.

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