Whether they're made from potatoes, corn or flour, chips are addictive snacks because they're salty and crunchy. They are also very bad for you. Chips contain a lot of sodium and saturated fat, both of which are very unhealthy. When you're craving something crunchy, you have a number of healthier options to choose from.
As long as you are not reaching for a bag that is loaded with butter and salt, popcorn is a good alternative to chips. Popcorn contains loads of dietary fiber, which can help you feel full for longer. It also has a crunch that can help satisfy your cravings for chips. Air-popped popcorn contains no fat and is very low in calories. If you don't like plain popcorn, look for a seasoning that is low in sodium. Try cumin, garlic powder or chili powder for a sodium-free kick.
Many people stay away from cashew nuts because of the high amounts of fat they contain. Cashews are actually fairly low in fat when compared to nuts like almonds, pecans, walnuts and peanuts. They contain no cholesterol and boast fatty acids that are good for your health. When buying cashew nuts, choose only varieties that are unsalted. Avoid flavored varieties that throw in sugars and additives to change the flavor of the nut.
Ants on a Log
Ants on a log gives the crunchiness you are craving from chips with the added benefit of a serving of vegetables. You probably remember ants on a log from when you were a kid. You simply take some celery, spread some natural peanut butter or low-fat cream cheese inside and top it with some raisins. If you don't care for raisins, try some different dried fruits such as cranberries. If you are feeling adventurous, drizzle some honey on top of your peanut butter or use dark chocolate chips in place of the fruit.
Fresh Vegetables and Dip
Fresh vegetables are colorful, crunchy and good for you. Raw vegetables like baby carrots, green peppers, cucumbers, red bell peppers, cauliflower, broccoli and baby tomatoes are delicious on their own but even better when paired with a dip. If you are purchasing your dip commercially, choose options that are low in fat and calories. Some good options include hummus or fat-free Italian dressing. Plain yogurt is a good choice to combine a craving for crunchy and creamy.
- Unjunk Your Junk Food; Randy Boyer and Lisa Tsakos
- The Ultimate Healthy Snack List, C. Elias
Derek Buckner has been writing professionally since 2005, specializing in diet, nutrition and general health. He has been published in "Today's Dietitian," "Food Essentials" and "Eating Well Magazine," among others. Buckner is a registered dietitian and holds a Bachelor of Science in nutrition and food science from Drexel University.