One of the hardest things for me when trying to shed a few pounds (or 20) is to find a replacement for good old fashioned crunchy salty flavorful FRIED potato or tortilla chips! Air popped popcorn with butter flavored spray is only going to tide me over for a week or so and then the taste buds start craving something else and I grab the bag of fried naughtiness I keep on hand for my husband.
And these days, who has the money to buy "healthy" baked snacks at the store? They rarely go on sale and when they do the bags are so small compared to the original that I still feel guilty spending the money. So, I have been experimenting with a variety of things to find a cheap healthy substitute.
Pita pockets and bagels are frequently found on my stores "Reduced to Sell" baker's rake for around $1. I now keep these on hand in the freezer to toast up when the urge strikes. Yes, I know freezing bread makes it go stale, but since I am going to toast them it doesn't matter. Just cut them - triangle wedges for the pitas and circles for the bagels either width or length wise as you desire - spray or brush on some olive oil, sprinkle on some seasonings and pop in the oven until crispy but not too browned. Corn and flour tortillas can be done the same way.
One of the newest food trend I have been hearing about from my friends and even the newspaper is Kale Chips. So many people are raving about them, I just had to try them. From an article in my local paper, The Californian:
"They're easy to make and can be done a day or so in advance. Chop one bunch of kale into bite-size pieces (remove any thick stems). Toss the pieces with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a bit of salt and pepper. Bake on a foil-lined baking sheet at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes, or until crunchy and dry. Cool, then store in a plastic bag."
I tried it and to be perfectly honest, I was not impressed. I wanted to be, really I did. But they were just so so. However, in all fairness I am willing to try again with the other half of a bunch of kale I have left and change a few things. First, I did it in a toaster oven and I think this puts the heating element too close to the pan - next time in the regular oven or reduce the temp on the toaster oven. Also, other instructions I have read call for drying the kale in a salad spinner prior to adding the oil and seasonings. And finally, I didn't add enough seasonings for my taste. So, I will be making another batch in the next few days before I render my final verdict.
If you like dip with your chips, here are a few ideas:
- Substitute fat free yogurt instead of sour cream. You can use fat free sour cream, but I like the extra health benefits in yogurt.
- Salsa! just check the label, but most are fat free and chock full of veggie goodness.
- Ditto for hummus; maybe not fat free, but usually very low in fat.
- Fat free refried beans, mixed with a little low fat cheese and salsa, heated in the microwave until the cheese melts - yummy healthy bean dip!
Well, that's all for me for now. I just made myself hungry.
Until next time, happy eating.