Are you looking for some healthy snack alternatives to potato chips? I offer 2 healthy alternatives that are lower in calories and fat, yet hit the spot when it comes to snacking. But first, why are potato chips bad?
Potato Chips – why is it bad?
The potato chips packet that is sitting in my pantry right now has only 3 ingredients – Potatoes, Sunflower and salt. That is pretty clean, right? Why is it bad then? For understanding the addictive nature of potato chips, I will encourage my readers to check out #1 New York Times Bestseller Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss .
He is a brilliant reporter who explains “Chips are nice and salty, which tells the brain to eat more, and loaded with fat […]. Potato chips hit the trifecta because they’re also loaded with starch, which converts to sugar the instant it hits your tongue. And glucose spikes lead to cravings.”He goes on to add “The potato chip is the single largest contributor to weight gain in the country. It’s not for nothing that Lay’s slogan is ‘you can’t eat just one.'”
Another reason why chips are bad for us – it is concentrated calories. Frying in hot oil decreases the moisture content of potato chips from about 80% to <2%. So, imagine how full your stomach feels eating one boiled potato, versus how light you feel when you eat a small packet of chips (but they are the exact same calories)!! It is deceptive and messes your calculations. “I only ate a handful of chips” is what your brain will thinking while breezing through 160 calories in no time.
So, what are some snacking substitutes?
I would love to banish potato chips from the house. But it will be unfair to my husband who loves chips and has a lot more self control than I do. So, I avoid them and have healthier substitutes for that salty snack craving.
This one is a hard one, for many vegetarians out there. I know that, because I personally had to get over the fishy smell of the seaweed and get used to it. Over time, I have begun to like it. My kids love seaweed. They snack on it without any mental block of “it smells different…”
If you are new to seaweed, I urge you to give it a few tries and a few brands before you make up your mind. The seaweed sold at both Costco and Trader Joe’s are made really well. Best of all, an entire packet is only 100 calories!!
In terms of nutrition from seaweed, you might get additional iron and fiber as well.
See how thin and crispy they are
I get 12 can of olives from Costco every 2-3 weeks. My younger daughter can be accused of finishing half of it. She is crazy about olives.
Olives have 75-80% water, so they are more filling than chips. The high water content makes it impossible to binge on it (unless you are my younger daughter – I have to, pretty much, wrestle the can away from her :)).
Again, in terms of nutrition, they have additional Vitamin E.
These are my top 2 snack substitutes for salty cravings. They are minimally processed, plant foods. The less processed a food is, the harder it is to mindlessly binge on it.
Do you have any healthy snack suggestions? I am super interested in hearing any healthy snack alternatives that you have discovered. Please share your findings with us down below.
Additional notes and references
Some interesting Q&A’s from Michael Moss: http://www.michaelmossbooks.com/salt-sugar-fat