Chips, what a notorious word for your diet. Loaded with salt, fats and empty calories, we all know that chips are the biggest no-no for a healthy diet. Just when we thought ‘veggie chips’ could do the trick, we failed to realize that most vegetable chips in the market do not actually contain real vegetables, but rather are simply a mixture of vegetable powders, corn meal and a whole lot of other chemical substances we probably can’t pronounce. Instead of completely eliminating chips from your diet, there are still ways for you to give in to your cravings by crispy-baking these 5 fruits and vegetables for some healthy homemade chips.
Baked Kale Chips
Kale is one of the most nutrient dense foods among all the healthy greens. Per calorie, kale has more iron than beef, more calcium than milk and more Vitamin C than spinach! Each cup of kale also contains only 33 calories. Baked kale chips are easy to make, plus baking helps get rid of some of the kale’s raw, vegetal flavor. First, heat the oven to 350°F. Remove and discard the center ribs and stalks of the kale; wash and dry the leaves thoroughly. Toss the dried kale leaves with a drizzle of olive oil and seasonings of your choice, and bake for about 10 - 15 minutes until the kale chips are crisp. Once you start snacking, it will be hard to stop!
Tips: It’s best to use dinosaur kale rather than curly kale because its broad, flat leaves crisp up more evenly. Remember to go light on salt or opt for paprika for some smoky flavor!
Lemon Dill Zucchini Chips
Also known as courgette, zucchini is well known for its benefits to help lose weight. Zucchini is extremely low in calories (1 cup of sliced zucchini contains only 19 calories), but it gives you the feeling of being full due to the high water and dietary fiber content. To make Lemon Dill Zucchini Chips, simply slice the zucchini thinly and toss them in fresh dill, lemon juice, and Himalayan pink salt. Bake the zucchini chips at 235°F for 1.5 - 2 hours until they become crispy and enjoy!
Tips: Due to the high moisture content of zucchini, press the zucchini between paper towels to remove some of the moisture to speed up the baking process.
Baked Rosemary Beet Chips
Beets have been gaining popularity as the new superfood. With their high fiber content (each cup of beets contains 4g of fiber), beets help to prevent constipation and promote healthy bowel movements. Beets also contain the nutrient Betaine that helps to lower blood levels of homocystein, which is one of the many ways to help prevent cardiovascular diseases. With just 4 ingredients, these baked rosemary beet chips are super easy to make. Preheat oven to 375°F and slice beets thinly and evenly. Toss the sliced beets with a drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of sea salt and rosemary. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes in a single layer until crispy and serve!
Tips: If you’re not a huge beet fan due to the earthy taste that some people dislike, give these beet chips a try! You’d be surprised by how neutral in flavors they are!
Baked Cinnamon Apple Chips
As the old adage goes, ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’. We all know this. But what exactly makes this fruit so special? Apples are extremely rich in antioxidants, flavanoids, and dietary fiber. The phytonutrients and antioxidants in apples may help reduce the risk of developing cancer, hypertension, diabetes and heart disease. There is no better way to satisfy your cravings for chips while getting your daily dose of apples than these baked cinnamon apple chips! Simply slice the apples and lay them singly on a baking sheet, sprinkle with naturally ground cinnamon powder, and bake them at 200°F for 2 - 2.5 hours. Remember to flip the apples once in between!
Tips: Apple chips can be a little chewy or a little crunchy depending on how you slice them! If you prefer the crunch, slice them thinly; if you prefer the slight chewiness, slice them a little thicker.
Baked Sweet Banana Chips
Bananas are one of the most popular fruits on earth. Their natural sweetness and fruity aroma make bananas the perfect choice for a healthy and delicious on-the-go snack. While banana chips are omnipresent in almost all grocery stores, most of the banana chips in the market are loaded with high fructose corn syrups and fats, which negate the health benefits of the fruit itself. Instead of completely foregoing banana chips, try this simple banana chips recipe at home! First, preheat oven to 225°F and slice banana into 1/16” slices. Lay them out in a single layer on a baking tray and brush with lemon juice. Bake for 2 - 3 hours until the bananas have dried out. Since bananas are naturally sweet, you do not need to add any sweeteners!
Tips: Check bananas after about 90 minutes and peel up from the parchment paper to help air circulate better. Chips are done when they have deepened in color and have no visible moisture!
Tanya Zuckerbrot MS, RD, is a Registered Dietitian in New York City and the author of two bestselling diet books: The F-Factor Diet and The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with Fiber.