What to Eat When You’re Craving Potato Chips

Mental health

January 13, 2021

Clean Plates Team

When a craving for potato chips hits, it’s no joke; the allure of the the salt-fat-crunch combo is strong. But then, after the last crumbs are out of the bag, we usually don’t feel so great. So we asked registered dietitians and personal trainers Lyssie Lakatos and Tammy Lakatos Shames, a.k.a. The Nutrition Twins, for some healthy alternatives to potato chips.

Of course, one way to deal with cravings is to get to know what’s behind them. “We have our clients track their cravings and their mood,” Lakatos says. “Often they find they turn to the chips when they’re happy, sad, bored. If it’s a real craving, then, we say go with it and have one of the healthier alternatives.” If it’s emotional, they advise trying to ride it out.

Deep breathing can help calm you if your craving is stress-related, as can drinking certain types of tea. “Green, black or oolong tea contains L-theanine, a compound that crosses the blood-brain barrier and brings on alertness but also calmness,” Shames says. “It calms you down, so you’re not going to dive into the potato chips if you’re stressed.”

5 Things to Eat When You’re Craving Potato Chips

1. Seaweed Snacks

“One thing we like to recommend are seaweed snacks,” Shames says. “They’re actually really low in salt, but there’s enough that it gets that feeling going.” (We love the SeaSnax brand of seaweed snacks. They’re made with olive oil, where most other brands we’ve seen use canola or other vegetable oil.)

2. Cucumber, Hummus & Olive “Sandwiches”

This might sound weird (or maybe like something a pregnant woman would crave), but Lakatos promises: It’s so good. It’s salty, crunchy, and creamy. And you get some healthy benefits: The olives give you heart-healthy fat, there’s protein and fiber from the beans in the hummus, and then you get the nutrients in the cucumber. Even just one olive gives you that hit of salt.”

3. DIY Veggie Chips

If you have the foresight to know you’re going crave crips, Lakatos and Shames recommend baking a batch of vegetable chips. “Kale is popular, but you can use carrots, beets, turnips—anything you like,” Shames says. Slice thinly, sprinkle with oil, and bake for a healthier, still-crunchy treat.

Get a Recipe: Smoked Paprika Zucchini Chips from Nutrition Twins

roasted chickpeas
Photo Credit: Love and Lemons

4. Chickpeas

Baked chickpeas are also a good stand-in. “They’re satisfying because they have protein and fiber,” Shames says. It’s healthiest to DIY them, but Saffron Road uses organic chickpeas and sea salt.

Get a Recipe: Roasted Chickpeas from Love & Lemons

5. Chips

When only actual chips will do and you don’t have time to wait for a batch to come out of the oven, look for a healthier take. “We love the Bare chips” Shames says. Their baked, non-GMO chips are made from fruits and veggies, like beets, bananas, sweet potatoes, and apples and their ingredient list is typically one or two ingredients.

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