Try as we might to eat well, sometimes it takes superhuman strength to resist the siren call of the potato chip. And many of the supposedly “healthier” alternatives on the market are just watered down versions of the real thing, still salty, fatty and loaded with calories.
“There are a lot of really bad snacks out there that people think are good,” said Giada De Laurentiis, chef and television personality. “It’s an uphill battle.”
De Laurentiis recently aligned with Simply 7, a company that makes chips out of quinoa, lentils and hummus. In their collaboration, the “Food Network Star” co-host helped create a trio of air-popped popcorn flavors, which she and her daughter snack on when the munchies hit and “there’s only so many cut-up carrots and cucumbers” they can take.
Here are some innovative and “better-for-you” snack ideas to stash in your car or desk drawer for when you’re craving that salty crunch:
Simply 7 Popcorn
Using red or blue corn, both of which have more nutrition than the white and yellow varieties, the organic popcorn is flavored with Sicilian sea salt, l0-month-old aged Parmesan and clarified butter. The kernels are slightly smaller than conventional popcorn, and the corn is grown in nutrient-rich soil and has never been genetically modified. Another plus: The company launched an initiative, Fund Her Farm, to support female farmers across the Corn Belt.
Los Angeles-based entrepreneur Nick Desai remembers the snack foods of his vacations in his family’s native India, where he munched on savory treats made from beans and lentils.
“The protein and fiber content is elevated in Indian snacks,” said Desai, co-founder of food company Snack It Forward. “Everyone in the U.S. is looking for more plant-based protein so we decided to come up with better ‘junk’ food that they could relate to.” The result was two years in the making: Peatos, made from a pulse flour blend (pea, fava, lentil) and in flavors such as Masala, Classic Cheese, Fiery Hot and Chili Cheese. The chips have fewer calories and lower sodium and fat content than their more conventional grocery store rivals, are non-GMO and don’t have any artificial colors or additives. “If you’re going to eat pulses and legume-based snacks instead of corn and potato ones, you’ve significantly enhanced your nutrition,” said Desai.
Info: $1.29 to $2.99 at Ralphs and Pavilions. worldpeasbrand.com
We’ve all seen chips made from carrots, kale and beets. But avocado?
AvoLov, which launched in March at the ExpoWest natural products fair, has the creamy, nutrient-rich Hass avocado as its base, dried at low temperatures and then delicately seasoned with flavors such as chili lime and Sriracha; dehydrating them helps retain the potassium and good fats in the fruit. The other ingredients -- Himalayan sea salt, spices -- make them a reasonable option for those on Paleo and keto plans, and are suitable for vegans. About 190 calories per packet.
Urban Remedy’s Sour Cream and Chive Zucchini Chips are low-carb, low-glycemic, organic and vegan; they contain only six ingredients -- cashew, zucchini, olive oil, green onion, Himalayan pink salt and lemon juice. The Northern California-based company offers meal plans, nut milks, cold pressed juices and healthy snacking options like the zucchini chips.
Info: $5.95 at urbanremedy.com