Welcome to Lark Badges: Fried Foods

Fried foods are consistently linked to unfavorable health outcomes. People who eat more fried foods may be more likely to gain weight.
Fried Foods

Daily limit for a green badge: 240 grams

Meal limit for a green badge: 80 grams

Why your Lark Coach suggests limiting fried foods.

Fried foods are consistently linked to unfavorable health outcomes. People who eat more fried foods may be more likely to gain weight. Research suggests that eating more fried foods raises risk for diabetes and heart disease

Fried foods often start with a healthy core, such as chicken, fish, or onions. Then, they get a coating of refined carbs in the form of flour or breadcrumbs, and finally dive into a vat of hot oil. The result is a high-calorie, high-carb, fatty food. For example, a 3-ounce portion of skinless chicken breast has about 110 calories and no fat or carbohydrates, while that same portion of chicken with a coating, then fried, has up to 300 calories, 16 grams of carbohydrates, and 15 grams of fat.

Where fried foods may be lurking


The Lark app considers fried foods to be foods that are not only deep fried, but are also high in extra carbohydrates. Carbs can come either from adding breading or coating, or they can be inherent, as in the case of potatoes. These are some common fried foods that contain more calories and fat, and often more refined carbohydrates, than non-fried foods.

  • Fried fish fillets and fish sticks, fried chicken, fried wings, fried shrimp and mussels
  • Kung Pao chicken, orange chicken, General Tsao’s chicken, sweet and sour fish and chicken
  • French fries and hash browns
  • Mozzarella sticks
  • Jalapeno poppers
  • Fried and battered zucchini sticks, mushrooms, onion rings and cauliflower
  • Samosas, pakora
  • Chimichangas, fried tacos, taquitos, chalupas
  • Hushpuppies
  • Egg rolls and rangoons
  • Churros
  • Fried dough, frybread, doughnuts, and fritters

Tips for keeping fried foods from interfering weight loss or healthy efforts

Whole Grains
  • Many fried and battered foods, such as jalapenos,  can instead be prepared with whole-grain breadcrumbs or almond meal, and baked instead of fried.
  • Using panko instead of flour for a coating, and then baking instead of deep frying, cuts carbs, calories, and fat.
  • Fast food restaurants often offer side salads, carrot sticks, apple slices, or apple slices, which are all good alternatives to fried sides such as French fries and onion rings.
  • Baking, roasting, grilling, steaming, and broiling are all lower-fat cooking methods than frying.
  • Ordering grilled chicken, fish, or shrimp instead of fried can cut calories and fat in half and eliminate carbs.
  • “Crispy,” “breaded,” and “battered” usually mean, “deep-fried.”
  • Spring rolls and soups such as hot and sour, wonton, and egg drop are non-fried alternatives to egg rolls for starters at Chinese restaurants.

“Un-fried” Fried Foods

  • Skinless chicken breast coated with egg and crushed bran cereal, or fish coated with ground pecans or almond meal, then baked, are alternatives to fried chicken and fish.
  • Zucchini sticks and carrot sticks spritzed with olive oil and baked make nutritious alternatives to French fries.
  • Doughnuts can be baked instead of fried, and made healthier by dusting with baking cocoa or topping with stewed apples instead of frosting them or filling them with jam.
  • Cooked cauliflower coated with crushed whole-grain cereal and sauteed instead of hash browns.