Healthier Alternatives to Potato Chips

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Americans love their potato chips. We spent $8-billion on them last year. But now there are plenty of alternatives that look like they might be healthier for you. Consumer Reports just tested dozens to see if they're worth buying.

Snack chips are tasty. They're salty. They're typically potato. But now there are bean chips, pea chips, veggie chips, and kale. How do they taste, and are they healthy?
For Consumer Reports' expert panel of tasters, this is crunch time. Consumer Reports evaluated 32 different snack chips both for taste and nutrition. Trisha Calvo of Consumer Reports explains, "Don't get the idea they're as good for you as fresh vegetables, but most of the ones we tested are a little lower in fat and calories than classic potato chips."

Several of the new chips qualify as low sodium. And some are an excellent source of fiber. Consumer Reports found several to recommend. Top rated: Calbee Snapea Crisps Original Lightly Salted. They're airy and crispy, have a pleasant pea flavor, and are low in sodium. Beanitos White Bean with Sea Salt are also recommended, with a white bean and toasty grain flavor. Ten chips have six grams of fiber - the same as a large apple! Terra Original Real Vegetable Chips Sea Salt are the best tasting of the veggie chips tested. They're a colorful mix of real fried veggie slices, including sweet potato. And Food Should Taste Good Falafel Tortilla Chips are also tasty and cost less than the others. Consumer Reports panelists found them "bold and unique," with bean, corn, garlic, and coriander flavors. Who needs dip?!

Consumer Reports' test kitchen tried a little experiment. The nutritionists came up with their own simple recipe for kale chips and organized blind taste tests, pitting them against commercial kale chips costing seven dollars. Guess which won? The homemade version. Here's the recipe:

Homemade Kale Chips
bag (16 ounces) kale greens, washed, trimmed, and cut into bite-sized pieces, dried completely
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 tablespoons olive oil
teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Place garlic and oil in a small bowl and let it sit for 30 minutes. Discard garlic.
2. Pile kale on two large baking sheets. Toss with olive oil, coating each leaf. Sprinkle with salt and spread evenly on the baking sheets.
3. Bake 5 minutes. Toss kale using tongs to ensure even cooking. Bake until kale turns dark green and is very crisp, about 7 to 9 minutes. Do not overcook. Cool before serving.

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