There’s nothin’ on the Gulf Coast quite like fried shrimp.
It’s simple, it’s delicious, and it’s a fan favorite amongst all kinds of seafood lovers. You’ll find it on the menu at just about every seafood shack in South Alabama and beyond.
But if you’re kicking off the new year by counting calories, it’s easy to feel guilty over eating fried food of any kind.
Not to worry, though! We’ve got a few ideas for you fried shrimp fans that’ll help you stay on the healthier side without sacrificing all that fresh Alabama Gulf shrimp.
Keep these six tips in mind next time fried shrimp is on your menu.
Use a Heart-Healthy Oil
If you’re frying at home, you’re already off to a good start—studies have shown that fast food restaurants tend to use cheap oil, and they reuse it over and over. That’s typically not the case for home frying.
And if you want to do even better, choose a heart-healthy vegetable oil like olive oil or sunflower oil, rather than butter, lard, or palm oil.
Don’t Make the Oil Too Hot
Overheating the oil (and thus your shrimp) isn’t just a lazy way to cook—it can make your meal less healthy.
The hotter your oil is, the more excess oil the shrimp will absorb, which adds to the fat and calorie totals and makes the shrimp greasier. (If you do end up with greasy shrimp, pat them down with paper towels to shed some of that extra oil.)
Switch the Breading, and Bread Lightly
Fried shrimp is all about the breading, but that doesn’t mean the breading needs to take center stage.
For starters, bread lightly—it’ll take away some of the crunch, but that’s a small sacrifice for healthier eating. For your breading, try panko breadcrumbs and a small amount of parmesan cheese.
Use the Oven, Not a Fryer
You don’t need a fryer at all, really. Breaded shrimp can be baked just as easily as they can be fried, and without the added fat from frying.
Stay Away From Excess Salt
Too much salt in your diet can have a negative effect on your cardiovascular health, so it’s best to not add any extra salt to the shrimp. Besides, there’s plenty of flavor already there, and salt just distracts from the shrimp.
Go Easy On The Sides
When cooking fried shrimp, there’s an easy temptation to pair your entrée with carb-heavy or fried sides—french fries, grits, tater tots, rice, etc. However, one of the best ways to make your meal healthier is to be conscious of what’s around the shrimp.
Try pairing your fried shrimp with a salad, or fresh veggies like asparagus or broccoli. You can always opt for a seasonal vegetable mix, depending on the season and your personal preferences.
If you’re already hungry for a fried shrimp dinner, we’d recommend our recipe for Kowaliga Fried Shrimp. Eat up and enjoy!