Ah, the beloved potato chip … is there anything better than a fried and salted slice of potato? Better tasting? No. But better for you? Yes. In fact, just about everything is healthier than a deep-fried potato. Luckily, if you love the crackle and crunch of chips and crisps but want to avoid the accompanying fat and flab, there are plenty of other good-for-you options to choose from. And although they’re readily available in stores, they’re just as easy to make at home.
Baked banana chips have all the taste of fresh fruit with the satisfying crunch of a snack food. Although honey, cinnamon, syrup, or other sweet condiments are sometimes added, basic baked banana chips, like this version from Weight Watchers, are low-fat and healthy.
Kale, full of calcium, magnesium, and vitamins A, C, and K, is the king of the cruciferous vegetables, and baking it into light and crispy chips can make even the most determined junk-food addict happily eat her greens. This recipe for roasted kale chips from Dan Barber of New York’s Blue Hill at Stone Barns minimizes kale’s bitterness and brings out sweet, nutty flavors.
Packed with vitamin A, carrots are nutritional powerhouses. Depending on the size of the carrot, they can be sliced, julienned, crinkle-cut, or made into waffle shapes, and the chips are easy to make at home. This baked carrot chip recipe from Talk of Tomatoes uses just three ingredients.
This low-fat and mineral-rich cousin of the banana is a staple of diets in Central and South American cuisines, as well as in the Caribbean. When frying plantains, as in this recipe for spicy plantain chips from Epicurious, the key is to use very firm, green, unripe fruit.
Crunchy, hearty baked pita chips are a better alternative to fried potato chips, and they’re even more delicious when they’re spiced up with garlic, cayenne pepper, or cinnamon. When using a recipe like this one from SparkPeople, substitute whole-wheat pita bread for extra nutritional benefits.
Although they’re low in calories, sweet potatoes contain large amounts of carotenoids, vitamins A and C, potassium, and other essential nutrients. When baked into chips, like in Martha Stewart’s recipe, they become the healthiest possible potato chip.
Baked apple chips are crisp and crunchy, and as they dry in the oven, the sugar caramelizes into a delicious sweetness. Although dried fruit can be high in sugar, apple chips are still a far-healthier chip. Try this recipe from Food Network’s Alex Guarnaschelli.
Tofu is rich in protein while being low in fat and calories. Since the soy curd itself is rather tasteless, tofu chips like these can be dressed up with whatever kind of spice mix you like, or it can be used instead of traditional chips in nachos or with dips.
Homemade tortilla chips are vastly superior in taste and nutrition to their store-bought counterparts; by cooking them yourself you can control how much oil and salt you use. Try Chow.com’s recipe for basic chips that pair perfectly with salsa or guacamole.