What Are Veggie Chips?
Veggie chips are a type of snack food made from different types of vegetables. They are usually fried, dried, and sometimes baked to create a crunchy texture. The most popular veggie chips are made from potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, beetroot, parsnip, kale and cassava. Veggie chips can be found in a wide range of flavours, including salt and vinegar, barbecue, sour cream and onion, cheddar cheese, rosemary or sea salt.
Are Veggie Chips Healthy?
It's reasonable to assume that because they're made either with or from vegetables that veggie chips are healthy. However, it's important to know that not all veggie chips are created equal. For instance, many veggie chip brands carry the same kilojoules as potato chips and they can have much more salt. Some veggie chips are also loaded with artificial flavours and preservatives, which in my opinion, catapult them in the direction of a non-health food. The front-and-centre image of a vegetable on the packet is clever marketing, which is there to make you believe you're doing something very virtuous and good for your body. Remember, forget what’s on the front and always read the back nutrition label to know what’s really in there.
The next time you pick up a packet of veggie chips, there's a few things to consider before throwing them in your shopping basket.
How To Know If Veggie Chips Are Healthy
- Are the first few ingredients recognisable foods? (eg. cassava, tapioca, beetroot, corn, sweet potato)
- Is there a short list of said ingredients, between 5-10 inclusive of seasonings?
- Are there any E-numbers, preservatives or long indecipherable words?
- What is the main oil used for cooking the veggie chips? (should be olive, avocado, coconut, and sunflower oil primarily)
Food additives have their place in commercial food production, but really should be limited if possible. As consumers, it's our responsibility to make an informed choice on whether we want to eat certain foods with additives or preservatives.
Overall, if your packet of veggie chips reads pretty 'clean' in terms of ingredients, is low in natural sugar (around 4g per serve is ideal for adults), has low or no trans fats and has *actual* vegetables in it - you're good to go.
Is Canola Oil Healthy?
Canola oil (rapeseed oil) is a popular cooking oil used to make veggie chips. However, despite its popularity, there are some potential health risks associated with consuming canola oil regularly. While it may provide some health benefits due to its high levels of monounsaturated fats, once canola oil is exposed to high heat (such as frying) it undergoes a biochemical conversion and becomes a trans fat.
The same is true for many industrial plant oils including palm oil, soybean oil, cottonseed oil and corn oil. If you think about it, the amount of oil that comes from these crops is minimal, so major processing must take place to yield enough oil from them for industrial and commercial use. It's not natural and not good for you. If they’re not already, they all have the potential to be converted into trans fats and shouldn't be consumed.
Why We Should Avoid Trans Fats in Veggie Chips
The truth is, industrial trans fats are not good for you. Trans fats are highly unstable and inflammatory in the body, and should be avoided in the diet.
Plenty of scientific research backs this up as well. A recent systematic review published in the British Medical Journal showed that saturated fat consumption is not associated with cardiovascular disease onset and all-cause mortality. Conversely, it’s industrial trans fat consumption, over and above other fat sources that cause disease and harmful health outcomes.
To sidestep this whole issue, another great option is to make veggie chips at home. You can choose your cooking oil and add your own flavourings. Let's see how to do it.
What oils are best to use for high-heat cooking?
High-heat cooking requires the use of oils that are able to withstand high temperatures without burning or becoming rancid. The best oils for high-heat cooking are those with a high smoke point such as avocado oil, peanut oil, and sunflower oil. These oils can be heated up to 232°C without oxidising. Additionally, these oils have a neutral flavour which makes them great for sautéing, without overpowering the final dish.
Why coconut oil and olive oil are ideal for cooking
Coconut oil and olive oil are popular cooking oils due to their multiple health benefits. Coconut oil is a great source of medium-chain fatty acids which can help support your metabolism and energy levels. It has a high smoke point of 177°C so it can be used in recipes that require a higher temperature. Olive oil is full of natural plant compounds that act as antioxidants. It has a lower smoke point than coconut oil but it still works great for sautés or roasting vegetables. Both coconut oil and olive oil add an amazing flavour to recipes, but may overpower the end dish, so keep this in mind when using these healthy plant-based oils.
Buy Or Make Your Own Healthy Veggie Chips Today
Sure, you can buy veggie chips as long as you’re confident the ingredients stack up. Choosing veggie chips that have been air fried, cooked in sunflower, and avocado oil or gently oven-roasted will ensure you’re eating the healthiest store-bought chips.
However, making your own veggie chips is a great way to enjoy a tasty snack without compromising on nutrition. You can easily make delicious homemade sweet potato, kale or cassava chips in just a few simple steps. Whether you’re looking for something savoury, earthy or sweet - there are plenty of options when it comes to veggie chips.
Enjoy your veggie chips either way you choose!
How To Make Veggie Chips
All you need is a few vegetables of your choice, a tablespoon or two of oil, and some seasonings like salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika or your favourite herbs. Cooking veggie chips can be done in the oven, or these days in an air fryer too. Slice them up, toss them in oil, salt and seasoning and bake.
The key to success with veggie chips is getting a super fine cut on your vegetables to give that quintessential 'crisp' shape and texture. A sharp knife or mandoline is the way to go here, so you end up with shavings that are perfect for homemade veggie chips.
Here's three recipes to get you inspired to make your own healthy veggie chips.
Cassava Chips - Veggie Chips
Cassava chips are a delicious, earthy and sweet snack made from the root vegetable cassava, also known as yuca. This vegetable is similar to taro, tapioca or even sweet potato. It's packed with vitamins, minerals, and dietary fibre which makes it great for a healthy snack option. With its slightly sweet flavour and crunchy texture, cassava chips make for a great alternative to traditional potato chips. Here's how you can make your own cassava chips at home:
1. Preheat your oven to 190°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
2. Peel 1 large cassava root and thinly slice into small rounds using a mandoline or sharp knife.
3. Place the slices onto the lined baking sheet, toss lightly in olive oil or coconut oil, and sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt and garlic powder.
4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, flipping once halfway through, until chips are golden brown and crispy.
5. Allow them to cool and enjoy.
Crispy Carrot and Paprika Veggie Chips
These crispy carrot and paprika veggie chips are a great way to enjoy your vegetables. With just a few simple ingredients, you can create a tasty snack that is high in vitamins, minerals, and fibre. Serve these delicious chips as an appetizer or for snacking!
- 3 large carrots, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
- 1 teaspoon of olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with baking paper.
- Place carrot slices on the baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and smoked paprika. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Toss lightly to coat the carrots evenly.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until carrots are golden brown and crisp.
- Remove from oven and let cool before serving and enjoy.