If you have a soft spot for fried spuds, you’ll be interested to know that it’s not only a chip’s savory and delectably fatty flavor that makes them such an alluring snack. According to an Oxford University study, the crunching sound of biting into a good chip partly what keeps you munching your way through a bag. Even if you already know chips are full of carcinogens like acrylamide and aren’t doing any favors for your health goals, with all of their tempting qualities it’s no wonder they can be so hard to resist.
Whether it’s the crunch or that particular flavor of savory, sweet, or smoky that keeps you hooked, there are other, much healthier ways you can satisfy your chip cravings. These include both things you can do, as well as alternative scrumptious snacks that you can purchase or make at home that are sure to give you a healthier dose of crunchy flavor to suit your taste.
More delicious than they may sound, kale chips can be purchased at many health food stores, and it’s also easy to make your own customized crispy flavor bombs at home. Here’s a simple recipe to try.
First, you must of course grow or buy some kale, ideally organic, since kale and other greens are top culprits for pesticide contamination, and pesticides in general are likely not good for your health.
Next, make a flavored oil base using olive oil, salt, and your desired additives (dill, vinegar, cayenne, paprika, nutritional yeast, curry mixes, oregano, basil, tarragon, and mustard are all good ones to try in different combinations). Taste test as you go to make sure the flavor is good, being careful not to add too much salt or hot spices.
Next, rip the kale into manageable pieces, and dip them in the oil base, stirring it frequently between pieces. Finally, the dehydration requires either a dehydrator, or your oven set to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, or less. For slower dehydration, turn it to the lowest temperature and leave the door slightly ajar (making sure there is at least some heat). Bake or dehydrate until crisp, rotating the higher and lower racks at least once if using the oven, and voila! A healthy, crispy delight!
Crackers and Accompaniments
Healthy, baked crackers also make a great alternative to chips. Look for whole grain ones with healthier oils like olive oil, and try to avoid canola oil, as well as sugar, and unknown unpronounceable ingredients. Spruce them up with healthy dips such as homemade hummus, goat cheese, homemade cashew cheese and other accompaniments like olives and shellfish. Rice crackers and oat crackers are also great chip craving busters if you want try something different, or if you are in a gluten free diet.
Grocery stores and health stores often sell baked chips nowadays, which are much healthier than fried chips. Of course you can always make your own baked chips at home.
Simply cut potatoes into thin slices, lightly brush, dip, or sprinkle on your seasoning (tip: add very little or no oil), spread them on an oiled pan so they don’t stick, and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until they start to show signs of browning, or until they are at your desired crispiness. Although other options might still be healthier, if you just can’t say no to the potato, try to limit your craving to baked options at least.
Roasted and Flavored Nuts
Nuts contain a plethora of healthy fats and proteins, vitamins, minerals and other healthful compounds. Purchase raw nuts like almonds or cashews, mix up a bit of seasoning oil similar to kale chips, being careful to only use a small amount, and then bake them until they begin to darken a little. Color is key to knowing when they are done.
Instead of other food options, you might also try some non-food ways of overcoming your chip cravings. Exercise, for one, helps you feel good, while also helping with addictive behavior. Your chip cravings may not be at that level, so perhaps it will work even better. Go for a power walk, run, or participate in a yoga class, which may bring in the extra benefits of meditation and mindfulness (see below).
Meditation and Mindfulness
Another option when you get a craving is to not rush to fulfill it or try to distract yourself away from it at all, but to sit with the craving and observe it using mindfulness techniques. Over time, if you bring your awareness to the sensations that make up the craving without acting on them, it is likely that the craving will begin to subside. In time, you can gain more power over your cravings in general just by being mindful of them.
If mindfulness works on tobacco addictions, think of what you can accomplish when up against a less physiologically addictive food craving!
Meditation, on the other hand, has been shown to reduce stress and stress in itself can cause food cravings. There are many other behavioral ways to address cravings as well, including by generally feeling happier and having less stress, and others specific to addressing food cravings.
Don’t limit yourself to these tips, however. Get creative, keep your favorite herb and spice seasonings on hand, and add them to any crispy snack you can think of whenever you feel like reaching for a bag of chips. Combine this with regular exercise, mindfulness, meditation, and other psychological tools that might work for you, and you’ll be set to resist chips whenever and wherever the craving may arise.
Zoey is a part-time blogger and a full-time nurse. She is the founder and editor of leanrecipes.com an avenue for sharing her passion about juicing, plant-based diet and living a healthier lifestyle.
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