Ah, the classic potato chip. Invented in Saratoga Springs in the late 1850s, this now-iconic snack actually started out as a fluke: A chef sliced his potatoes too thin and loved the crispy, salty result. Nearly one hundred years later, Lay’s made the potato chip iconic with its slogan “Betcha can’t eat just one.” Like the best catch phrases, it rang true.
However, snacking on potato chips can quickly turn into “mindless eating,” according to Michael Moss, author of “Salt, Sugar, Fat,” in an interview with The Atlantic. In addition, potato chips are a naturally starchy food, giving us a naturally, mildly snack topped with salt. This combination hits our tongue and gives our brains a feel-good boost. Is it any wonder that one ounce of chips contains at least 140 calories?
Unfortunately, buying reduced-fat chips makes little difference: When comparing original and reduced-fat chips, the latter may only save you about 20 calories and a few grams of fat. And veggie chips? Becky Worley, writing for ABC News, found that veggie chips are nearly as bad as their potato counterparts.While they promote themselves as including whole vegetables, many use powdered veggies in minimal amounts, for coloring.
Luckily, there are many homemade alternatives that you can add to your diet that offer more fiber and flavor. If you’re looking to kick your snack habit, here are a few tricks you can implement for healthy alternatives to potato chips:
Bake your chips
Allison Stevens, writing for Livestrong, mentioned that baking foods requires using less oil than when frying, making it a healthier alternative. Potato chip fans can turn to baked sweet potato chips for a fiber-rich snack that is a step up from the fried original. The Minimalist Baker recommended thinly slicing sweet potatoes and tossing them in a tablespoon of olive oil. Place them in the oven at 250 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for two hours, flipping the slices at the one hour mark. You’ll still get the potato chip crunch with more fiber and vitamin A – it’s a win all around.
Substitute a range of vegetables
Sweet potatoes aren’t the only vegetables that make a tasty snack. You can slice carrots, toss them in cinnamon – a spice known for its anti-inflammatory properties – and bake them for a lunchtime snack. Steele House Kitchen blogger Meredith Steele suggested adding a honey yogurt dipping sauce to your carrot chips. You can get an added protein boost that will keep you feeling fuller than classic chips.
Sweet potatoes are a great alternative for homemade potato chips.
Add your favorite fruits
For an inventive take on chips, you can bake apples, pears and even pineapple! Like sweet potatoes, fruits require more time in the oven at a lower temperature to dehydrate well and give you that chip-like crunch. You can experiment with different healthy dipping sauces, like this curry guacamole from the team of paleo bloggers behind The Primal Desire.
It will be easier to say goodbye to the salty goodness of potato chips with these healthy alternatives. Happy snacking!