Photo by: Jenny Favret
Somewhere between the living room and kitchen, that bag of spicy hot chips calls out to us from its place in the pantry. Without warning, our mouth starts to water in anticipation of the delicious salty crunch that awaits. “OK, just a handful”, we tell ourselves.
Food companies invest a LOT of time and money to constantly bring us new and exciting flavor combinations for packaged chips. This past February, Lays® released 3 new chip flavors including a “Flamin’ Hot Dill Pickle” variety. According to Statista research, Americans spent 27.72 billion dollars on “salty snacks” in 2017 alone!!
Packaged “salty snacks” are typically laced with the perfect combination of artificial flavors, making it VERY difficult to stop eating them. So go ahead and lose the self – blame that often comes when the bag is empty. A 2015 University of Michigan study was the first to confirm that certain foods (such as heavily processed chip items) can trigger “addictive – like eating behavior”.
In this case, knowledge is power: Since heavily processed chip items are potentially addictive, consider making the choice to avoid snacking on them. While it is possible to enjoy a reasonable portion of a favorite chip item with a meal, snacking on them between meals is risky for a lot of people who can’t seem to stop eating them once they start.
Instead of packaged chips, try these crunchy alternatives to zap between meal hunger:
Thinly sliced circles of fresh carrots, sprinkled with a favorite spicy seasoning mix
Handful of roasted nuts…any kind
Crunchy strips of bell pepper (or whole baby peppers)
Roasted chick peas:
Drain a can of chick peas and pat dry using a clean dish towel.
Pour into a medium bowl and toss with generous amount of olive oil.
Arrange onto a baking dish.
Place into pre-heated 400 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes (until crispy and golden brown). NOTE: shake pan every 10 minutes, to allow for even cooking.
Season as desired
Place a handful of shredded cheddar cheese onto a microwave safe plate.
Flatten the pile.
Cook on reduced power level (50% to 80%) until cheese is fully melted and is starting to brown.
Allow plate to cool.
Remove from the plate using a butter knife.
Crisp raw veggies such as broccoli or cauliflower florets, radishes, carrot sticks, celery, etc. with your favorite dip (ranch, humus, guacamole, spicy mustard, etc.
Photo by Jenny Favret
Written by Jenny Favret, MS, RD, LDN