Last week, I decided to restart my weight loss journey since I gained 15 pounds in three months. As I was making my lunch today, was tempted to reach for my usual chips but quickly decided it wasn’t a good idea. Chips are loaded with salt, preservatives, loaded with grease, and lacking in nutritional value. Next time you find yourself reaching for the bag of chips, try these healthier chip alternatives. These healthy crunchy vegetables, they are healthy alternatives to potato chips. Vegetables are packed with nutrition and you don’t have to give up the crunch. Eating too many potato chips can lead to weight gain.
Swap Unhealthy Potato Chips for these Crunchy Vegetables
Try these 9 crunchy vegetables to use in place of chips. You can still expect the same crunch that you get while eating chips:
Zucchini is filled with mostly water and it is an excellent alternative for spaghetti noodles. You can also eat an entire medium-sized zucchini for less than 40 calories. Simply slice a zucchini and eat it in place of fattening chips. This popular vegetable contains 7 carbs, 2 grams dietary fiber, 3 grams of sugar, 2 grams of protein, and vitamins and minerals.
You can even make zucchini chips in the oven for added crisp. Preheat the oven to 350 and drizzle a small amount of olive or coconut oil (melt if needed). Cover in Italian seasoned Panko bread crumbs or leave them plain. Sprinkle lightly with parmesan cheese for added flavor. Bake the zucchini chips for 15 minutes or until the zucchini is tender and the cheese has browned. Let sit for 2 to 5 minutes until cool. Enjoy!
Photo credit: Pixabay
Yellow squash is similar to zucchini, but it is considered a hot weather vegetable. It is picked at an immature stage to ensure that the skin is edible and that the inside is sweet. Again, this favorite vegetable is low in calories and is the perfect side dish if you are trying to lose weight.
A cup of raw squash contains 18 calories, and it contains only a trace amount of fat. Plus, it contains ample amount of fiber which can ward off digestive issues such as diverticulitis and it includes numerous vitamins and minerals.
You can serve yellow squash raw or make crispy baked yellow squash chips.
Sugar Snapped or Snow Peas
Grab a cup of sugar snap or snow peas instead of a serving of chips. Just a cup the pea pods will only set you back 60 calories. Plus, they are packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals which are lacking in a serving of chips. You can eat them raw if you want the same crunch that you find in a handful of chips.
They are perfect for dipping in hummus, dips (be aware of dips filled with fat and calories), or even low-calorie salad dressings. Snow peas also can be cooked, steamed, or sauteed using herbs and spices. Just be careful not to over cook them.
Raw Bell Peppers
Grab a handful cup of raw bell pepper instead of high-calorie chips. Bell peppers are low-calorie. Plus, they don’t lack the crunch. Sliced bell peppers are great for dipping too. Red peppers tend to be the sweetest too.
Tip: To find a sweet bell pepper to consume raw, flip it over and look at how many points are on the bottom. Choose a bell pepper that is female (has four points). The male (has three points) bell peppers are better for cooking.
As I was wandering through the produce section at the grocery store, I was immediately drawn to the sign that said fresh cucumbers from local farmers. I get a little sad when I think of my grandparents garden filled with fresh cucumbers. They are no longer with us but their memories carry on.
Cucumbers are one of my favorite raw vegetables, and they are a perfect replacement for a handful of chips. A cucumber is made up of mostly water and is helpful on a hot summer day to ward off dehydration. An entire medium sized cucumber will only set you back 50 calories or less.
Cucumbers are crisp and have plenty of crunch that will make you forget about those unhealthy chips. Plus, they contain vitamins, lignan (which may help fight cardiovascular disease), and they can be added to a variety of foods or served as a snack.
Carrots are a popular, crunchy vegetable that even the picky eaters will likely eat dipped in a bit of ranch dressing. These crunchy vegetables have numerous health benefits and packed with beta-carotene, fiber, and vitamins and minerals. When my doctor gave me a handout with a very strict diet, she urged me to stay away from carrots due to the high sugar content. So if you are watching your sugars, limit the number of carrots that you consume.
When my doctor gave me a handout with a rigorous diet plan, it urged me to stay away from carrots due to the high sugar content. So if you are watching your sugar intake, limit the number of carrots that you consume.
Eating carrots can reduce the risk of constipation due to the high insoluble fiber content.
Celery goes perfectly with a sandwich, and you won’t even realize that you are missing those unhealthy chips. Plus, you can even mix and match with these other crunchy vegetables too.
Pair with a bit of hummus or nut butter for added protein. This vegetable yields very few calories and makes your digestive system work to process it. It also contains antioxidants, enzymes, and vitamins and minerals. Most vegetables are best consumed raw; however, celery provides more nutrients when it is cooked.
Baked kale chips have been increasingly popular the last several years. Personally, we haven’t tried them but we have heard that they are quite addicting. Just like regular chips, you can’t stop at one. All you need to make these addicting healthy chips, is a bunch of kale, a little bit of olive oil, and sea salt.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees while you line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Remove the stems and carefully tear the leaves into bite sized pieces. Then wash and dry. Next, drizzle kale with a small amount of olive oil. You don’t want the kale to be saturated with olive oil. Carefully, place the kale on the parchment paper. Sprinkle a small amount of sea salt on to the kale. Place in oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until the edges of the kale turn brown. Cool and enjoy. Store in an airtight container.
Broccoli is packed with nutrition and parents often call it “trees” in a desperate attempt to get their kids to try it. The “trees” have numerous health benefits. It should be listed at the top of your grocery list if you are trying to eat healthier. Kids today still attempt to push this nutrient-dense vegetable off their plates and even some grown-ups.
Raw broccoli can easily replace the “crunch” of chips on your plate at lunchtime. You can even add a bit to your sandwich or wrap too. Don’t worry this nutrient-dense powerfood will only set you back 31 calories per cup.
Don’t care for raw broccoli, try it steamed topped with a bit of cheese or these roasted crispy broccoli chips.
Since I restarted my weight loss journey last week, I am doing best to make healthier choices including staying away from chips and other junk food. Often times, I will reach for the potato chips when I make myself a sandwich but I realize how chips lack adequate nutritional value. Instead, I swapped my chips for crunchy vegetables.