Autumn is here and with it the World Series, football season and other get-togethers, but what would these gatherings be without a few snacks? Now I practically NEVER buy things like chips for my own home, but honestly, if I’m at someone’s house and they’re out there, I’ll give in then regret it later. Thankfully, today there are more tasty and healthful options available. One place to see many of these is at the Natural Products Expo that takes place in Anaheim, CA in the spring each year. The FoodTrients team was there in force back in March, walking the endless aisles and sampling all kinds of delicious, wholesome treats that are good for you, too. You’ll find most of the snacks at places like Whole Foods and Sprouts, but even regular supermarkets are paying more attention to healthier snacks.
Here are just a few that the FoodTrients team sampled and loved at the Expo:
Chip, Chip Hooray!
Kale Chips – Not exactly news, but they are a good alternative to potato or corn chips. Fresh kale, of course is a superstar superfood. A member of the cabbage family, it’s loaded with antioxidants and phytochemicals that protect cells from damaging free radicals and forms of cancer. Kale contains high amounts of calcium, iron and vitamins A, C and K, which helps build bones. Kale also contains more eye and skin-protecting beta-carotene than broccoli. Rhythm Superfoods makes kale chips in various flavors including Kool Ranch, Zesty Nacho and Mango Habanero. All their chips are gently air-crisped under low heat, not fried.
Bean Chips – For added protein and fiber, chips with beans added to them make a better snack choice. Diets high in fiber are associated with lower risks of heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Beans are digested slowly, so they provide sustained energy to the body and help prevent spikes in blood sugar that other carbohydrates can. Beans also contain protective phytochemicals, antioxidants and vitamins. Beanitos is a line of chip-style snacks in varieties like Black Bean, Chipotlé BBQ, Better Cheddar and Hint of lime. Beans are the first ingredient, then long grain rice. The products are gluten-free, non GMO and contain 4g of protein and up to 6g of fiber per serving.
Quinoa Chips – Contrary to popular belief, quinoa is a seed, not a grain. But it doesn’t matter, as it is a highly nutritious food that contains more high-quality protein than practically any other grain. It’s also high in calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, copper and zinc. It has more iron than any grain (8g per ½ cup serving) and 5g of fiber. Simply 7 Snacks Quinoa Chips contain quinoa as their first ingredient. They are vegan, non GMO, contain no trans fat or artificial colors or flavors. They come in a number of flavors including BBQ, cheddar and sour cream and onion.
Seaweed Rice Chips – Gimme Chips Seaweed Rice Chips contain roasted seaweed, organic brown rice, lentils, sesame seeds and a little sea salt. They also come in Teriyaki and Wasabi flavors. Sea vegetables are among plants with the highest amount of nutrients, minerals, and trace minerals. They are known for aiding health, beauty and long life. Why not enjoy them in a crunchy chip?
What’s a Chip Without the Dip?
Here are a couple of recipes from my new book, The Age GRACEfully Cookbook. They’re simple to prepare and contain ingredients that make you look and feel better inside and out!
Moringa leaves are loaded with protein, calcium, iron, vitamins A and C, and potassium. Add other grilled vegetables such as red bell peppers, zucchini, and asparagus to expand on this delicious party food. You can buy moringa powerder (and plants) at MoringaforLife.com.
1 cup olive oil mayonnaise
1 Tbs. finely chopped red onion
1 Tbs. finely chopped sweet pickles or sweet pickle relish
½ cup fresh moringa leaves or 1 tsp. moringa powder dissolved in 1 Tbs. warm water
Sea salt and ground pepper to taste
Combine the ingredients in a small bowl and mix with a wooden spoon. Enjoy with any of the chips above or with whole wheat pita bread cut into triangles and toasted.
Serves about 6
Hummus is so popular these days, but did you know it’s easy to make it yourself? All you need is a can opener and a food processor. Garbanzo beans have lots of fiber that can lower cholesterol and slow the absorption of sugar. The lemons contain lots of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent.
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup tahini paste
¼ cup lemon juice
½ teaspoon fresh lemon zest
2 garlic cloves
1 ½ Tablespoons fresh thyme, picked off the stem
1 29-oz can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Put all the ingredients in a food processor and blend well. Garnish with freshly ground black pepper and additional thyme leaves or stems. Serve with fresh garden veggies or healthy chips.
Makes about 2 cups
The strawberries, avocado, and cilantro all contain antioxidants. Strawberries are also very high in vitamin C and flavonoids, while avocados also provide glutathione, a detoxifying agent. This relish is great on chicken or fish, but it’s irresistible with healthy chips and whole grain crackers.
1 1/2 cups diced strawberries
1 diced medium-size avocado
1/4 cup minced red onion
1/4 cup lime juice (about 2 limes)
1 Tbs. chopped cilantro
1 tsp. sugar
Sea salt and ground pepper to taste
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well with a wooden spoon.