Potato chips, pretzels, and other salty snacks are unhealthy, and they can even get boring after awhile. Whether you’re trying to substitute healthier options in your diet, or looking to cut them out completely, there are plenty of easy to prepare snacks that will satisfy your need for something crunchy or crispy. Try these as an accompaniment to a sandwich or just as a late night snack. You’ll be surprised as your craving for junk food slowly goes away!
1. Crispy Chickpeas
Chickpeas are high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, so they are filling and nutritious. Even if you don’t think you like beans, try these crunchy roasted chickpeas; you might be surprised!
To make them, drain and rinse a can of chickpeas. Dry them thoroughly with paper towels, removing as many of the skins as you can. Toss them with a tablespoon of olive oil and a teaspoon of your favorite seasoning (curry powder, Italian seasoning, or a combination of garlic and onion powder work well.) Lay them on a sheet pan and bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes until chickpeas are dried and crisp. Store them in an airtight container (if you have any left, that is!)
2. Kale Chips
Greens are one of the healthiest foods you can eat. With antioxidants, fiber, and plenty of nutrients, you can’t eat too many, but they can get boring after awhile. Making kale chips as an alternative to bagged potato chips is one solution to healthy snacking and getting more nutrients.
Start by tearing a bunch of kale into bite sized pieces. Toss with a teaspoon or two of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Lay in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about 10-15 minutes, until crisp. Allow to cool completely before serving.
3. Roasted Nuts
Nuts are crunchy, filling, and satisfying, and they make an easy delicious snack. Instead of munching on them raw, try roasting them with your favorite seasonings to make a delicious snack that will tide you over until your next meal. Use any variety of nuts you like, just make sure they are all about the same size to avoid burning (don’t use sliced almonds with whole pecans, for example.)
Take 1 cup of raw, unsalted nuts of your choice and toss them with a teaspoon of olive oil and a teaspoon of whatever seasoning you like. Chili powder, curry powder, or Italian seasoning works well. Add a pinch of salt, and lay them on a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes until fragrant and toasted. Allow to cool before serving. Want something sweet and crunchy? Try using coconut oil instead of olive and seasoning with cinnamon, ginger, or nutmeg. Experiment with different nut/oil/seasoning combinations until you find your favorite.
4. Sweet Potato Chips
Sweet potatoes are super nutritious and make an excellent chip to replace greasy bagged potato chips. You can flavor them however you’d like, and then store them in an airtight container for a few days. The key to getting the crispest chip is to slice them as thin as possible. A mandolin is a helpful tool to have for this; it ensures even, thin slices that produce excellent chips.
Peel a sweet potato and slice it as thinly as possible. Toss the slices with a teaspoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt. You can add seasoning if you’d like (cinnamon, curry powder, or chili powder are some particularly good options.) Lay them on a sheet pan and bake for 25-30 minutes at 400 degrees, until crisp. Allow to cool completely.
5. Olive Oil and Herb Popcorn
Skip traditional microwave popcorn, which is loaded with chemicals, preservatives, and harmful additives. Movie popcorn is even worse! Popcorn is actually a low calorie, high fiber, nutritious snack, but you have to prepare it right.
You can make your own by putting about 1/4 cup popcorn kernels in a brown paper lunch bag. Fold the bag closed and put it in the microwave. Set your microwave for 3 minutes and pop until the popping slows to every 3-4 seconds. Remove from the microwave and add a teaspoon of olive oil and a teaspoon of Italian seasoning to the bag. Shake and transfer to a bowl.
6. Easy Homemade Trail Mix
Trail mix can be a healthy snack, but it can also be high in sugar, fat and calories. It’s great on the go because it lasts a long time and if made with the right ingredients provides a healthy source of energy and nutrients.
Make your own by combining nuts and dried fruit with something sweet. Load up on raw nuts like walnuts and almonds, then add seeds like sunflower or pumpkin. Dried fruit like cranberries or raisins go well, and follow up with some dark chocolate chips instead of sugar coated candies for a healthy, crunchy snack you can count on.
7. Avocado Fries
Avocados are a super food when it comes to health and nutrition, and you’ve probably eaten them on sandwiches or made into guacamole. Loaded with heart healthy fats, they are an easy choice, but you may not know you can bake up into something crispy and delicious.
Take 1 or 2 ripe avocados, pit and slice them into wedges. Season with salt and pepper and dredge them in flour, then dip them in a beaten egg. Coat with panko or homemade breadcrumbs and lay them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 425 degrees for
8. Baked Tortilla Chips
Bagged chips are fried in unhealthy fats, and can even have added ingredients you don’t want to eat. You can easily make your own with store-bought tortillas and a little bit of oil.
Simply brush corn or flour tortillas with oil on both sides and cut into wedges. Lay them on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes, or until crisp. They’ll crisp up nicely when they are cooled. Serve with your favorite salsa or hummus for a delicious, satisfying snack that is also nutritious.
9. Radish Chips
Radishes are good for you, but it can get boring eating them on salads again and again. Next time you have an abundance of these spicy roots, try baking them into chips. They’re spicy flavor means they don’t need anything more than a little oil and salt to make a nice, crunchy snack that goes perfect with a sandwich.
Slice a bunch of radishes as thinly as you can (a mandolin is key for this.) Toss the slices with a teaspoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt. You can add seasoning if you’d like, but try them plain first to see what you think would go with their peppery bite. Lay them on a sheet pan and bake for 25-30 minutes at 400 degrees, until crisp. Allow to cool completely.
10. Cauliflower Tots
Want your kids to eat more veggies? Try these cauliflower tots. Crispy, low carb, and made with wholesome cauliflower, your kids will never know these are actually good for them. They’re also a great alternative to starchy tater tots, and because they’re baked instead of fried, they are much lower in fat and calories.
To make them, chop and steam a head of cauliflower until tender. Mash until it has a rice like texture. Allow to cool and stir in 1/4 cup flour and 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese. Season the mixture with salt and pepper and stir in 2 egg whites. Form the mixture into tater tot sized pieces and coat with panko breadcrumbs. Bake at 400 degrees for 35-45 minutes, until browned and crispy.
The next time you’re looking for something crispy and satisfying, but don’t want to go overboard on fat and calories, try one of these easy snacks. They’re healthy and nutritious, but will satisfy your taste buds. You can even experiment and use these same techniques for different vegetables. Carrots can be made into chips just as easily as sweet potatoes, and you can add whatever flavorings you like to popcorn. Experiment, and eventually you’ll find your favorites. Once you do, you’ll never go back to unhealthy junk food again!