I think we can all agree, potato chips are delicious. However, the fact that they are not great for you, has those of us who are trying to feed our families and ourselves healthy foods listing potato chips as one of those “treat” foods that we only eat once in a great while. So many chips and snack crackers are full of chemicals and ingredients we can’t even pronounce. Packed with saturated fat, salt, and even sugar, these snacks are empty calorie bombs with the potential to make anyone feel sluggish after eating only a single serving. Fortunately, there are lots of foods that are delicious substitutes and allow you to keep desirable parts of potato chips like crunchiness and salty goodness while adding wholesomeness in the form of things like fiber and antioxidants making these chips not only good tasting, but they’re also a smart choice for your health.
If a change in your eating habits has you missing chips and crunchy crackers, you’re in luck. You can make healthier chips using vegetables like beets and sweet potatoes. You can lighten things up by making your own healthy crackers that contain whole grains and are baked instead of deep fried. Sometimes even substituting a crisp veggie like a carrot stick or piece of celery proves to be the perfect crunchy vehicle to deliver a bite of hummus or maybe a creamy dip made with Greek yogurt and herbs.
There are many, many recipes for making chips with almost any vegetable that can be roasted at high temps, but one of my favorite potato chip substitutes is beet chips! There are only 3 ingredients, and I feel sure you can pronounce each one. 😉 -- beets, sea salt and olive oil. That’s it! Served with a recipe of Balsamic Shallot & Black Garlic Chip Dip, you’ll think, “where have beet chips been all my life?!?! (https://bit.ly/3g7l3ho)
Another example is to make tortilla chips healthier by baking pieces of store-bought corn tortillas. You might not automatically put tortilla chips and chicken wings together, but when you convert the classic bar food superstar -- buffalo wings -- into a creamy and spicy spread, your homemade baked chips will hold up and deliver the perfect tasty serving to you without all of the preservatives and other unpronounceable ingredients. (https://bit.ly/3uH08qy) Whether you serve it in our convenient and delicious phyllo shells or with homemade baked tortilla chips, this dish is always a hit! Make your own tortilla chips (this works for pita chips too) by cutting corn tortillas into wedge shapes, giving them a quick spray or drizzle of the oil of your choice, sprinkling them with coarse salt, spreading on a baking sheet in a single layer, and baking at 350 degrees, flipping once, until the wedges are a light golden brown. When you compare, the homemade chips come out on top not only for flavor, but also for less calories. 11 store-bought chips = 150 calories, but 24 homemade chips = 120 calories.
If you notice, even the ads for chips dare you to eat just one. Unfortunately, the truth is that most of us can’t even stop at one handful, which is why these healthier snacking substitutes offer a lighter yet just as tasty alternative to salty, high calorie, and trans-fatty bagged chips. All you’ll need to whip up your own batch is a thin chip slicer (such as a mandoline), a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and an oven (in many cases a toaster oven will even do the trick).
It’s wonderful to know that I don’t have to completely cut out delicious, crunchy, salty chips to eat a healthy diet. I simply have to rethink them, and make substitutions with healthier baked options. They're just as satisfying, in my opinion, and some are even tastier than standard, regular potato chips.