Lately I've been on a mad search for alternatives to potato chips, which I love far more than I should. The Wedding Diet is in full effect, and I've been trying to give up all, or at least most, of my vices. I'm probably not the only one who wants to get off the chips, right? If you find yourself reaching for Pringles, ridges, or sour cream and onion when it's time for a snack or when you're simply feeling peckish, keep reading. I'm not promising that all of these tasty alternatives to potato chips are healthy, but most of them are!
1. Potato Chips
Oh yeah, I just began a list of healthy alternatives to potato chips with potato chips. See, you don't have to give up what you love! There are dozens of ways to make your own chips at home, even if you like the deep fry method. I found a recipe, however, that bakes them, so you can actually indulge a little without feeling guilty about all that oil and sodium.
Vegetable-oil cooking spray
2 pounds russet potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
3 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Freshly ground pepper
First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees and prepare two baking sheets using the cooking spray. In a bowl, add the potatoes, 1 tablespoon of salt, the cayenne, and the oil, then season to taste with the pepper. Toss everything together.
Lay the slices on the sheets, leaving ¼ of an inch between them. Bake them for 30 minutes, or until they're golden and crispy, flipping the potato slices halfway through. After you take them out, put them on a sheet of parchment paper and let them dry for about 5 minutes. You can add salt if you like.
2. Kale Chips
I always have kale in the house … but I admit, it's for my rabbit. I'll eat it occasionally but haven't yet tried kale chips. I keep hearing rave reviews, though, and decided to bite the bullet and eat the greens. This recipe appealed to me because it's pretty straightforward, and you can easily add to it if you want – a sprinkle of Parmesan before baking, for instance!
1 head kale, washed and thoroughly dried
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt, for sprinkling.
Preheat your oven to 275 and prepare your baking sheets. Get rid of the ribs and cut the kale leaves into pieces, about 1 and ½ inches. Place them on the baking sheet(s), and then add the salt and the oil, tossing to mix. Cooking time is generally 20 minutes, but your chips are done when they look crispy. Turn them midway through the cook time for best results.
Back in the way-back days, before my parents were able to afford their first dinosaur of a microwave, my dad popped up huge batches of popcorn for our weekend movie nights. After a trip to the video store, he'd heat up some oil in a huge pot, one with a lid, and then make popcorn from the kernels, always adding the perfect amount of butter. You could try that too, even with healthier alternatives; you could use an air popper, make microwave popcorn, or buy some Smartfood, which is delicious but not a smart choice at all. You can get or make all kinds of popcorn – including what you get with this recipe.
3 tablespoons peanut oil
3 ounces popcorn kernels, approximately 1/2 cup
1/2 teaspoon popcorn salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
First, grab a large mixing bowl made of metal, then add the kernels, the oil, and the salt. Cover it up with heavy-duty foil and then poke some slits in the aluminum, about 10.
Put one of your burners on medium heat, then set your bowl on top. Shake it up steadily, using tongs or oven mitts. Keep shaking as it pops; it usually takes about 3 minutes.
Take the bowl off the stove and pull off the foil. Distribute the salt stuck to the side of your bowl into the popcorn.
Melt your butter in a microwave safe container. Drizzle as much or as little as you want slowly over your popcorn. Spin the bowl at the same time for even coverage.
4. Apple Chips
I adore apple chips. Though they aren't salty, they do help when you're just feeling peckish or in need of a little crunch. There are various adaptions on apple chips, and of course you can use different kinds of fruit as well. I love this version because they're so simple, but so tasty!
3 apples (I use Granny Smith, Pink Lady, or Honey Crisp)
Prepare two baking sheets and preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
Wash your apples and slice them very thin, leaving the skins. Spread them out over your pans, spaced so that there's only one layer and they don't overlap. Sprinkle on the sugar and cinnamon.
Bake the chips for an hour, then rotate them, and leave them on for an additional hour or hour and a half. After that, turn off the oven but let the apples stay in there. They should cool for another hour, plus they'll come out with crunch.
5. Tortilla Chips
I love tortilla chips. White corn, yellow corn, I don't care. However, all that sodium and all those refined carbs aren't great for you. If you love the homemade tortilla chips you find at really great Mexican places and some other restaurants, why not make your own, too? It doesn't take long at all, they're so versatile, and ooh, that crunch! Speaking of versatility, this recipe has two methods; I'm using the baked tortilla chip version, but if you'd prefer yours fried, take a look at the source!
About 3/4 to 1 cup canola, grapeseed, or corn oil (a high smoke point oil), more or less depending on how many chips you are making
Corn tortillas (get the standard kind, not the super fancy kind), each tortilla will make 6 chips, 12 tortillas will yield 72 chips, a good snack for 2 to 3 people
Prepare your baking sheet(s), cut your tortillas into triangular wedges and preheat your oven to 350.
Place the wedges on your sheet(s) so that there's only one layer. Put them in the oven for 6 minutes, then flip them. Season them with the salt (and any other flavorings you like), then leave them in for 6-9 minutes. Watch for them to start turning golden, then they're done. You can add extra salt if you like.
6. Sweet Potato Crisps
Sweet potato fries are big, but sweet potato crisps are getting bigger. My mom introduced me to a commercial brand on my last visit and I fell in love! She has a hard time finding them, though, so I decided to find a recipe I knew she'd love – and it's healthier! It's also a wonderfully standard recipe, so you can add any spices or flavors you like!
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
Pepper to taste
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and prepare two ungreased baking sheets. Slice your sweet potatoes very thin, then place them in a big bowl and toss them with the salt, pepper, and oil. Line them up on your sheets so that they're in a single layer.
Bake the sweet potatoes for 10-15 minutes, flipping them halfway through. When they're done, the edges will be crisp but the slices will still be a little soft in their centers. As they cool, they'll get crispier.
7. Zucchini Chips
Zucchini is one of my favorite vegetables, so I was all over this recipe. It's just wonderful – as in, these could almost completely replace chips for me. I just love the flavor, and they're so filling! If you like zucchini too, try them at least once.
2 medium zucchini (about 1 pound total)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan (3/4-ounce)
1/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs
1/8 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Prepare your baking sheet with the spray and preheat your oven to 450.
Slice your zucchini so that each round is just 1/4-inch. Place the slices in a medium sized bowl and toss them with the oil. Using a smaller bowl, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan, and the salt, with enough pepper to taste. Dip your zucchini slices in the mixture, making sure each side is coated and that the coating sticks. Lay them out on the sheet in one layer.
Bake your zucchini for about 25-30 minutes, or until they look crisp and golden brown. Serve and fall in love!
If you try any of these alternatives to potato chips, I really think you'll be pleased. They're definitely tasty, and most of them are much healthier too. Why do you eat chips – is it the flavor, the salt, the crunch, or something else?