Thinking about ordering onion rings as a side with your next burger? Or maybe you’re planning to serve them as an appetizer on game day. Either way, the question of whether onion rings are healthy comes to mind. Fortunately, these fried slices of onion actually have some benefits — but that doesn’t necessarily mean you can eat them all the time. The key is to know how much onion ring nutrition you’re taking in and modify accordingly if needed. We break down everything you need to know about this tasty side dish so that you can make an informed decision next time you’re faced with ordering or making onion rings.
Are Onion Rings Healthy?
It depends on the recipe. Some onion ring recipes include unhealthy ingredients like breading and frying in oil. However, there are also many healthy recipes for onion rings that use whole-grain breading and baking instead of frying. As with any food, it’s important to read the nutrition label to make sure you’re aware of the calorie and fat content.
Nutrition Of Onion Rings
Onion rings are made from onions, which are a good source of vitamins K and C. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps your body fight off free radicals, which are toxins that can damage the cells in your body. Vitamin K helps to build bone tissue and is important for blood clotting. Both vitamins help keep your heart healthy and bones strong.
The same oil used to deep fry onion rings is also used in cooking with olive oil, making it a good source of monounsaturated fat (good fat). Monounsaturated fats have been shown to lower cholesterol levels, so adding this type of fat to your diet can help prevent heart disease. Onions are also naturally low in calories per serving, making them a great choice for people trying to lose weight or maintain their current weight loss goals.
Onion rings are a good source of sodium, which is an important electrolyte that helps to maintain the proper balance of fluids in your body. Sodium is also a mineral that helps to regulate blood pressure and maintain muscle function.
Potassium is another mineral that plays a role in maintaining normal blood pressure, muscle function, and heart rhythm. Potassium can also help lower your risk for high blood pressure, stroke, and kidney disease. One medium onion ring contains about 1 gram of potassium, which is about 10 percent of the recommended daily amount for adults.
Onion rings are a good source of fiber, which can help promote regularity and keep you feeling full longer after eating them. Fiber also helps to keep cholesterol levels normal and may reduce the risk for some types of cancer as well as type 2 diabetes (when not combined with exercise). A medium onion ring contains about 6 grams of fiber per serving — or about 20 percent of the recommended daily amount for adults.
6. Vitamin C
Onion rings are a good source of vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that helps your body fight off free radicals. Free radicals can damage cells in your body, which can lead to disease and other health problems. Vitamin C also helps build tissue in your body, including blood vessels and skin. A medium onion ring contains about 25 percent of the recommended daily amount for adults or about half the amount you need in a day.
How To Make Healthy Onion Ring Alternatives
1. Eat More Veggies.
The most important thing to remember when it comes to onion ring nutrition is that they are a side dish, not the main course. This means that you should be eating them in moderation. The best way to do this is by incorporating more vegetables into your diet, especially if you’re trying to lose weight or reduce inflammation. A good way to add more veggies to your diet is by eating a rainbow vegetable medley on game day — think of all the different colors of vegetables and how many there are! Another great way to eat more veggies is by making a salad with them.
2. Cut Down On Fat Intake.
When it comes to onion rings, you have two options — make them from scratch or buy them from a pre-made package. If you choose the first option, then choose low-fat versions of the ingredients that make up the batter (for example, use fresh eggs instead of egg whites). The healthier alternative is to make your own onion rings, but this is up to you. If you choose the pre-made option, then be sure not to overdo it on the oil. For example, if you buy a package of frozen onion rings, then reduce the amount of oil used in the pan by about 30 percent.
3. Reducing Sodium Intake
Onion rings are one of those foods that can easily be packed with sodium. You can reduce your sodium intake by making sure that you are eating low-sodium options when you order them as a side dish with your next burger or order them as an appetizer at a party. For example, if you’re planning to serve onion rings as an appetizer at a party and want to add some variety to your menu, then opt for a healthier alternative like baked beans rather than french fries — or even better yet — make a veggie tray!
4. Eat More Healthy Fats And Less Carbs
Onion rings are generally made with a batter that contains egg whites. This is another reason why it’s important to eat more healthy fats and fewer carbs when you’re trying to lose weight or reduce inflammation. In addition, you should be making at least half of your meals from whole foods. For example, if you make your own onion rings at home, then you can use more healthy fats like avocado oil or coconut oil in the batter — this will help to keep them crispy and tasty!
5. Eat Less Salt
Onion rings are usually made with a significant amount of salt, so be sure to check the nutritional information on them before eating them (and do the same with any other side dish that has a high sodium content). You can also use fresh lemon juice instead of table salt when seasoning your food. For example, if you make your own onion rings at home, then season them with garlic powder and fresh lemon juice instead of salt — this will help to reduce the amount of sodium in your onion rings!
Pros Of Onion Rings
- Low in calories: On average, an onion ring contains just 45 calories. In comparison, plain chicken breast has about 270 calories.
- Great for snacking: One serving of onion rings is the equivalent of one-quarter of your daily recommended amount of sodium and only 10% of your daily recommended intake of total fat.
- Tasty to eat: Onion rings are a tasty treat that you can enjoy at any time — whether you’re craving something salty or sweet, or both at the same time!
- Low in fat and cholesterol: Most people don’t realize that onions are a low-fat food source because they have such a strong taste and smell. However, when cooking them down into onion rings, their taste tends to be watered down and masked by batter or breading. Therefore, onion rings are actually relatively low in fat (4 grams) and cholesterol (0 milligrams). On top of that, onion ring nutrition is also low in sodium and carbohydrates.
- Digestible: The healthy fats in onions actually help to keep you full after eating, which is why onion rings are often recommended for people who have a hard time sticking to a diet plan.
Cons Of Onion Rings
1. Onion Rings Are Full Of Sodium.
An average medium-size order of onion rings contains 540 milligrams of sodium, which is about one and a half times the recommended daily allowance. This amount is equivalent to more than half the 1,500-milligram daily limit for most adults.
2. Onion Rings Are High In Fat And Calories.
The calories in an average-sized order of onion rings are more than 620, which means they’re high in fat, as well. One can order up to 13 onion rings per order — that’s over 1/3 cup! And this doesn’t include the breading that makes them so crispy and delicious! If you eat an entire large order, you could consume over 1/2 cup of fat and nearly 300 additional calories — not to mention all the added sugars from all those flavors! So if you’re looking for a tasty snack or appetizer recipe that fits into your healthy eating plan, onion rings may not be the best choice.
3. Onion Rings Are High In Sodium And Fat, But Low In Fiber.
Onion rings are high in sodium and fat, but very low in fiber. This means that they don’t have a lot of fiber to help you feel full or keep your digestive system working properly — making them more likely to lead to overeating. As a result, onion rings can lead to overeating which leads to weight gain, and obesity.
4. Onion Rings Are High In Calories And Fat, But Low In Protein And Other Nutrients.
One large order of onion rings contains about 6 grams of protein — less than 1/2 cup! The same amount of chicken nuggets contains nearly twice as much as 12 grams of protein per serving! And if you’re looking for a nutrient-rich food that will help you get the protein your body needs, choose a veggie burger instead! You’ll get more than twice the protein that you’ll find in onion rings.
5. Onion Rings Are High In Carbohydrates, But Low In Fiber.
Onion rings contain a lot of carbohydrates, but very little fiber — about 0 grams per serving. This means your body won’t feel full or satisfied after eating an entire order and may lead to overeating. Plus, if you have a large order, it will add up to lots of added sugars from the breading and other ingredients that make them so tasty! Choose veggies instead for a healthy snack or side dish!
If you’re craving onion rings, then go ahead and have them in moderation. However, if you are trying to cut back on unhealthy fats and sodium, then a better option would be to make them at home. This way, you can control the ingredients and know they’re healthier. You can also try other side dishes like corn on the cob, mashed potatoes, baked sweet potato fries, or roasted vegetables. These will provide more nutrients than onion rings and are lower in calories and sodium.