Kitchen Tips

Top 10 healthy snacks to stop you reaching for potato chips

Beat the temptation of potato chips with these 10 healthy snack ideas for curbing even the most stubborn junk-food cravings.

Baked kale chips
Workplace vending machines make it all-too-easy to bust through the 3:30 PM hunger barrier with potato chips instead of something a little more nourishing for your body. The secret to resisting the lure of a greasy quick-fix is advanced preparation. But it doesn't have to be hard or boring; there are plenty of healthy snacks you can create with minimal effort and maximum flavour. Here are 10 of our favourite ideas:
1. Kale crisps
Packed with iron, kale is the darling of the health world. Making your own kale crisps is easy: you just need olive oil, salt and an oven. Get creative with seasonings, like this cumin and paprika recipe, or keep it simple. You'll be hooked either way.
2. Toasted nori strips
Toasted nori strips are available pre-packaged from health food stores and Asian supermarkets. Their umami flavour make them very moreish and snackable. Better yet, nori is a good source of fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals.
3. Tamari roasted nuts and seeds
Making your own delicious tamari-roasted nuts is so easy: just preheat an oven to 180°C, mix 2 cups of almonds or mixed seeds with 3 Tbsp of tamari sauce and 1 Tbsp of neutral oil (and maple syrup for a sweeter result) and bake for 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye on the seeds; as they are smaller, they'll need less time and you don't want them to burn.
4. Crispy filled potato skins
If you've been peeling your potatoes and throwing away the skins, you're missing out on the most nutritious (and when baked until chewy, golden and crispy – the most delicious) part of the popular tuber. Turn them into a Mexican-inspired dish like this one with sour cream and salsa, or just bake them with a little oil and salt.
5. Baked kumara chips
Good kumara chips are prepared with the skin on (for chewy, caramelised goodness), they are completely, totally dry before you coat them with oil and salt, and they are carefully laid out on an oven tray, with plenty of space in between each chip (make sure your oven is nice and hot, around 210°C). Bake them like this for 15 minutes, then turn the fries over and bake again for another 10, or until cooked to your preference.
6. Pink hummus and veggie dippers
Do you know what's better than hummus? Pink hummus. Roast some sweet baby beets until tender and juicy and either blend with store-bought hummus, or add to homemade hummus at the end, blending until it reaches a vibrant this-can't-be-natural pink hue. Serve with crackers or fresh, crunchy crudités.
7. Bliss balls
To make your own bliss balls is to truly feel alive – okay, maybe that's an exaggeration, but you know you're on the healthy food bandwagon when you've blended cocao powder, medjool dates and soaked cashews into glossy, caramel perfection. Roll in a little coconut to finish, and keep chilled for those mid-afternoon snack emergencies.
8. Roasted chickpeas
Coat some cooked chickpeas in oil and spices, and then roast in a hot (200°C) oven for about 35 minutes, or until nice and crispy. These are the perfect potato crisp substitute and you can have a lot of fun with the seasonings. For a Moroccan flavour, try cinnamon, cumin , chilli and salt; smoked paprika and salt for something a little Spanish, and of course wasabi powder, salt and garlic for a Japanese-inspired spicy treat.
9. DIY popcorn seasonings
Flavoured popcorn is so good, that you can easily forget it's pretty guilt-free. Once you've got a bowl of plain popcorn, the fun begins. Try these great seasoning combinations (along with a splash of olive oil to help it stick): sugar, salt and toasted sesame seeds; Cajun seasoning, lemon zest and salt; za'atar spice mix and salt.
10. Nut butter crackers
The simplest nut butters require only one or two ingredients: nuts and salt. Slightly roast the nuts (or soak then dehydrate them for a healthier alternative), then blend in a high-speed blender for around 10 minutes. Be careful, though, as this can overheat many food processors; you may need to give it a short break every now and then. Serve on your favourite crackers, or, for the very virtuous, use to fill celery sticks.