Happy New Year! If you have made nutrition or fitness part of your New Year’s Resolutions, you have come to the right place. Healthy lifestyles are what we are all about at Cenegenics Boston and that is why we publish fitness and nutrition tips to help you on your journey to wellness.

Today we are focusing on healthy alternatives to chips, America’s #1 snack food, because one of the quickest ways to derail a healthy eating plan is by binge snacking.

When you are trying to stick to your healthy diet but the munchies hit hard, what can you do? Instead of grabbing a bag of potato chips, which are high in calories and contain high levels of trans fats and sodium, try one of these healthier alternatives to chips instead:

1. Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Baked Sweet Potato Fries - Healthy Alternatives to Chips

Sweet potatoes are chock full of antioxidants, vitamins (richest source of vitamin A), minerals, and dietary fiber. Here’s a simple and tasty recipe for baked sweet potato fries, which with the saltiness should curb any cravings you have for chips.

INGREDIENTS

Olive oil, for tossing
5 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch long slices, then 1/4-wide inch strips, using a crinkle cut knife
1 tablespoon House Seasoning (recipe follows)
1/2 teaspoon paprika

House Seasoning:
1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Line a sheet tray with parchment. In a large bowl toss sweet potatoes with just enough oil to coat. Sprinkle with House Seasoning and paprika. Spread sweet potatoes in single layer on prepared baking sheet, being sure not to overcrowd. Bake until sweet potatoes are tender and golden brown, turning occasionally, about 20 minutes. Let cool 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

For the House Seasoning:
Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Recipe courtesy Paula Deen. Source: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/baked-sweet-potato-fries-recipe.html?oc=linkback

2. Zucchini Chips

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Zucchini is low in calories, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. It is also a good source of vitamin A, thiamin, niacin and pantothenic acid. Try this superfood sliced thin and baked into a yummy, crunchy chip!

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup dry whole wheat breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (you could also use skim milk)
2 1/2 cups (1/4-inch-thick) slices zucchini
Cooking spray

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Combine first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl stirring with a whisk.
Place milk in a shallow bowl. Dip zucchini slices in milk and dredge in breadcrumb mixture.
Place coated slices on an oven proof wire rack coated with cooking spray; place rack on a baking sheet.
Bake for 30 minutes or until browned and crisped.
Enjoy!

Recipe courtesy Nutritionist in the Kitch. Source: http://www.nutritionistinthekitch.com/2012/08/07/oven-baked-zucchini-chips/

3. Baked Butternut Squash Chips

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Butternut squash is another powerhouse produce that packs a nutritional punch with vitamins, minerals and fiber. Squash chips may not SOUND that great, but trust us, they are salty, crunchy, and delicious and after one bite you will forget all about their unhealthy cousin, potato chips.

INGREDIENTS

1 butternut squash, about 2 pounds
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon finely chopped thyme
1 teaspoon sea salt

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
Peel squash then cut in half. Scoop the seeds out. Cut the squash into 1/8″ slices using a mandoline slicer.
In a large bowl, toss butternut squash slices with olive oil, herbs and sea salt until evenly coated. Spread slices in a single layer over two baking sheets.
Bake in preheated oven for 3 hours, turning twice. After 3 hours turn off oven, leaving chips to cool in oven for 6 hours or overnight. Store in an airtight container.

Recipe courtesy Food Babbles. Source: http://foodbabbles.com/2014/01/butternut-squash-chips/

4. Roasted Brussels Sprouts

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Brussels sprouts are the veggie we hated as kids but now seemingly can’t get enough of as adults. They are a good source of protein, iron, and potassium, and when cooked the right way are downright delectable.

INGREDIENTS

1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss Brussels sprouts with oil, salt and pepper on a rimmed baking sheet and roast, stirring once or twice, until deep golden brown, crisp outside and tender inside, 30 to 35 minutes. The leaves that are loose will be especially brown and crispy. Transfer to a bowl and serve.

Recipe courtesy Whole Foods. Source: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/oven-roasted-brussels-sprouts

5. Kale Chips

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Kale’s praises are sung enough that we don’t feel the need to do so here. Let’s just say they are the dark leafy green of every nutritionist’s dream. The sourness of kale might not be some people’s liking, though, and that’s why these kale chips are such a delight.

Brad’s Raw Crunchy Kale in Nacho are so crunchy and delicious that they will absolutely kick any craving you might have for chips.

From Brad: “Coated with sunflower seeds, red bell pepper, agave nectar, chickpea miso, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic powder, onion, Bragg Aminos, and Himalayan sea salt, these kale chips will satisfy your cheese craving the natural way! Never baked or fried, all flavors of Brad’s Raw Crunchy Kale are dehydrated at or below 115 degrees to preserve essential nutrients and enzymes that enhance digestion and dramatically increase energy levels.”

Find Brad’s Kale products at your local grocery or health food store, or shop online.

As you can see, there are many healthy and delicious alternatives to chips! Feel free to try one or all of these and let us know how you liked them.