Nutrition

Are Veggie Chips Nutritious?

Question:  Are those ‘store bought’ veggie chips more nutritious than potato chips? 

Answer:  Usually not, veggie chips are high in calories and sodium, and they contain almost as much fat as regular potato chips.   Veggie chips aren’t much healthier than potato chips.

Most manufacturers of veggie chips claim that their products are made with fresh vegetables.  However, most of these snacks are actually made from potato or corn flour and small amounts of vegetable powder / puree which seems mostly to add color.

They are not nutritionally superior to potato chips.  Also, labels reveal that veggie chips contain high amounts of calories, salt and fats, and little else that is beneficial to health.  They usually cost more, too.  However, there are some veggie chip products that do provide some benefits.  Read the Nutrition Facts label on the package.

Typical Veggie Chip Nutrition – per 28 grams of product:

Description Amount % of recommended daily consumption
Calories 120 (36 from fat)
Carbohydrates 19 grams 6%
Sodium 250 milligrams 10%
Total Fat 4.0 grams 6%
Saturated Fat 0.5 grams 3%
Fiber 1.0 gram 4%
Protein 1.0 gram  

Vitamins A and C – Raw vegetables are great sources of vitamins A and C.  However,most veggie chips contain minimal vitamins or minerals, just a small amount of iron. Vitamins are lost during the process of making the veggie chips.

To make veggie chips, whole vegetables are converted to vegetable powder or puree, then this powder / puree is fried to produce veggie chips.  But little of this vegetable powder or puree remains in the final product.

Calcium and Iron – Most veggie chips do not provide any calcium.

Fiber – Fiber is present in in low amounts.  Most veggie chips contain 1 or 2 grams of fiber.

There are certain veggie chip products, such as Terra Exotic Vegetable Chips that contain small amounts of vitamins A and C and are made from slices of vegetables such as sweet potato and parsnip; Terra vegetable chips have 3 grams fiber.  They are much lower in sodium and are made from real slices of root vegetables such as sweet potato and parsnip. They are fried though.

For lower calorie and fat content, the best options are veggie chips from Robert’s American Gourmet and baked veggie chips.  For low-sodium chips go for Terra veggie chips or salt-free veggie chips

Make your own healthy veggie chips at home.  Chop kale and toss it with a small amount of olive oil and sea salt, pop it in the oven and bake until crispy.  More recipes appear in the blog below.

Nutrition

Baked Veggie Chip Recipies

 ChipsPic1    Soy and Sesame Kale Chips

Ingredients

  • 7 to 8 oz. (1 small bunch) Lacinato kale (often sold as “dinosaur kale” or “Tuscan kale”)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 300°.
  2. Rinse kale and thoroughly blot dry with a kitchen towel. Tear leaves from ribs; discard ribs.
  3. Tear leaves into 4-in. pieces.
  4. Pour oil and soy sauce into a large bowl, add kale, and toss to coat evenly.
  5. Arrange leaves in a single layer on 2 rimmed baking sheets.
  6. Bake, switching pan positions after 13 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle with sesame seeds; bake until leaves are crisp but not browned, 5 to 7 minutes more.

Note: The secret to getting these crisp is to avoid crowding the leaves on the baking sheets. Also, keep an eye on them—they can scorch quickly.  Make ahead: Up to 1 week, stored airtight.

 

BakedVegChips  Baked Veggie Chips

Ingredients

  • 2 large  parsnips–peeled, skinny ends discarded and fat ends halved lengthwise
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and halved crosswise
  • 1 celery root, peeled and halved crosswise
  • 2 purple or golden beets, peeled and halved
  • Fine sea salt
  • Olive oil cooking spray

Preparation

  1. Using a mandoline or handheld slicer, slice the vegetables 1/16 inch thick.
  2. Place the vegetable slices on paper towels in a single layer; sprinkle with sea salt.
  3. Let stand for 15 minutes, then blot dry.
  4. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 375degrees .
  5. Lightly coat 2 baking sheets with cooking spray.
  6. Working in batches, place vegetable slices in a single layer on the baking sheets.
  7. Bake until crisp, about 20 minutes; sprinkle with sea salt.
  8. Let cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes.
  9. Transfer to a bowl.
  10. Wipe the baking sheets clean. Repeat with more cooking spray and remaining vegetable slices.

Turnip / Rutabaga Baked Chips

Chips-12Veggies

 Ingredients   

Wax turnip / rutabaga – the smaller ones are more flavorful, but take more time to peel.

Preparation

  1. Chop off the top and  bottom, then peel the skin off the sides of the rutabaga/turnip.
  2. Layer the chip slices with some cranberries, a couple pats of butter and a tiny dash of salt.
  3. Bake them in a 350 degree oven until they start smelling yummy, give them a stir and a flip.
  4. Take them out when the edges started getting crispy; about 30 minutes.

ZucchiniChips  Zucchini Chips

Ingredients

  • 2 zucchini
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika

Preparation

  1. Slice the zucchini thinly and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, and smoked paprika (using a mandolin helps with the slicing procedure)
  2. Lay out on a dehydrator without parchment to make sure they get nice and crispy.  Dehydrate for four hours at 140 degrees.  OR
  3. Bake in an oven at 350 degrees.

2 Servings; Serving Size: 1/2 recipe.

Nutrition:48.7 calories, 2.3g of fat, 7.1g of carbohydrates, 2.5g of fiber, 1.2g of protein

SweetPotChips  Sweet Potato Chips

Ingredients

  • 1 large sweet potato, unpeeled, washed, and dried (about 9 ounces)
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

  1. Heat oven to 200°F with two racks.
  2. Line two baking pans with parchment paper, and set aside.
  3. Slice potato crosswise, as thin as possible.
  4. Arrange the slices on the prepared sheets, and keep them from touching as much as possible.
  5. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
  6. Cook for 50 minutes.
  7. Slices will dehydrate and shrink; turn chips over, and rotate baking sheets if needed for even cooking.
  8. Cook until slices are crisped and fluted around the edges and the centers are still orange, not brown, 30 to 40 more minutes.
  9. Transfer to cooling racks, and cool chips on baking sheets.
  10. Chips will be soft when removed from oven; will crisp as they cool.  Store in an airtight container, at room temperature, up to 3 days.

Serving Size: 1 (65 g); Servings Per Recipe.  Calories 55.9; Calories from Fat 0; 83%

Nutrition

Recipes That Use Tomatoes – a Tasty Health Food

Baked Parmesan Tomatoes

BakedTomato1   

Eat as a side dish or as a sandwich between slices of whole-wheat country bread.

INGREDIENTS

  • tomatoes, halved horizontally
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 450° F.
  2. Place tomatoes cut-side up on a baking sheet.
  3. Top with Parmesan, oregano, salt and pepper.
  4. Drizzle with oil
  5. Bake until the tomatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

Nutrition:  Per serving – 91 calories; 6 g fat; 4 mg cholesterol; 6 g carbohydrates; 3 g protein; 2 g fiber; 375 mg sodium; 363 mg potassium.

 

Tortilla Soup

Chicken-Tortilla-Soup

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 soft corn tortillas, cut into 1-by-2-inch strips
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed of fat and diced
  • 3 cups frozen bell pepper and onion mix, (about 10 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, preferably with green chiles
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3/4 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese

PREPARATION

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread tortillas in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake until lightly browned and crisp, 10 to 12 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Transfer to a plate using a slotted spoon.
  4. Add pepper-onion mix and cumin to the pot.
  5. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned, about 4 minutes.
  6. Add broth, tomatoes, pepper and lime juice; bring to a simmer and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender, about 3 minutes more.
  7. Return the chicken and any accumulated juice to the pot and cook, stirring, until heated through, about 1 minute.
  8. Remove from the heat; stir in cilantro. Serve topped with the toasted tortilla strips and cheese.

Nutrition:  Per serving – 357 calories; 12 g fat ( 4 g sat , 4 g mono ); 86 mg cholesterol; 24 g carbohydrates; 37 g protein; 4 g fiber; 775 mg sodium; 231 mg potassium.

 

Tomato-Basil Skewers

TomatoBasilSkewers

INGREDIENTS

  • 16 Small fresh mozzarella balls
  • 16 Fresh basil leaves
  • 16 Cherry tomatoes
  • Extra-virgin olive oil (to drizzle)
  •  Coarse salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. Thread mozzarella, basil and tomatoes on small skewers.
  2. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Nutrition:  Per Serving: cal. 46, Fat, total 3 g, chol. 8 mg, sat. fat 2 g, carb. (g) 1, pro. 3 g, sodium 217 mg, Potassium 34 mg, Fat 1 g

 

Tomato Tart

TomatoTart

INGREDIENTS

  • 17.3 oz package puff pastry
  • Egg
  • 4 oz Fontina cheese, grated
  • 1.5 lbs tomatoes, cored & sliced thin
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Thyme sprigs

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll each sheet of pastry to 11 by 11 inches.
  3. Transfer each to a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Cut a -inch-wide strip from each side.
  4. Whisk egg with a tbsp of water and brush on edges of pastry sheets.
  5. Line edges with strips forming a border, trimming any overlapping pieces on the corners. Place baking sheets in fridge or freezer, about 15 min.
  6. Brush border with egg mixture. Use a fork to prick pastry within the border, about every 1/2 inch. Bake until just golden, 12 to 15 min.
  7. Sprinkle center of each tart with half the cheese and arrange half the tomatoes on top. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with thyme leaves. Garnish with a few thyme sprigs.
  8. Return to the oven until the cheese is melted and the pastry is cooked through, about 8 min. Serve warm or at room temperature. 2 tarts, 12 servings.

Nutrition:  Per Serving: cal. 145, Fat, total 10 g, chol. 29 mg, sat. fat 4 mg, carb. 10 g, fiber 1 g, sodium (mg) 167.

Nutrition

Sweet, Juicy Tomatoes – a Tasty Health Food

Tomatoes not only taste good but they are also healthy to eat.

Research suggests that the combination of nutrients in tomatoes may help prevent cardiovascular/heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and prostate cancer. Tomatoes are an excellent source of:

  • Vitamins C, A, E, B6 & K
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Thiamin
  • Niacin
  • Folate
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Copper
  • Lycopene
  • Fiber

Eating tomatoes helps to build strong bones. The vitamin K and calcium in tomatoes are both very good for strengthening and repairing bones.  The lycopene also has been shown to improve bone mass, which helps to fight osteoporosis.  (Lycopene can be concentrated by cooking/processing.  Get much more lycopene by eating about 3/4 cup of tomato sauce every day.) 

Tomatoes’ antioxidants (lycopene and vitamins A & C) fight the free radicals which can cause cell damage.  The vitamin A in tomatoes works to improve vision and helps prevent night blindness.  Recent research shows that consuming tomatoes may help reduce the risk of macular degeneration (a serious eye condition).  They can even make your skin and hair look better.

They are also a very good source of chromium, which helps to regulate blood sugar.  So, eating tomatoes can keep your blood sugar in balance.

If mild to moderate chronic pain is an issue (such as from arthritis or back pain), tomatoes in your diet can help reduce the discomfort.   Tomatoes are high in bioflavonoids and carotenoids, which are known anti-inflammatory agents.  Chronic pain often involves chronic inflammation, so attacking the inflammation is a good way to fight this pain.

Build lots of tomatoes into your everyday eating to lose weight.  Because tomatoes contain copious of water and ~ 2 grams of fiber, they are one of those foods that will ‘fill you up’.  They have almost no fat, a low 22 calories and contain 1 gram of protein and about 4.0 grams of carbohydrates.  They make a great snack and can be used to “bulk up” salads, casseroles, sandwiches and other meals.

Add sliced tomatoes to sandwiches; Chop tomatoes in salad; Use marinara or tomato sauces on pasta instead of creamy sauces; Drink tomato juice or vegetable juice made from tomatoes (I could have had a V-8); Top scrambled eggs with chopped tomatoes or add them to a breakfast taco; Eat tomatoes as a mid-afternoon snack; Make a tomato sandwich; Add canned or stewed tomatoes to soups and stews; Serve stewed tomatoes over a baked potato; Make salsa with lots of fresh tomato; Put salsa on meats, fish, and eggs.

Need some ideas to incorporate more tomatoes into your diet?  Click on the Nutrition tab and select the recipes section for some of our healthy tomato dishes.

Nutrition, Wellness

What is ‘Eating Right’?

The need for exercise has been established.  Now, what is ‘eating right’?  A study lasting 10 years and included 2,339 people from 11 European countries has shown that a Mediterranean-style diet along with a moderate intake of alcohol is beneficial to health.  Older people consuming a Mediterranean diet had a 23 percent reduction in overall deaths during a ten (10) year period.

Furthermore, those following the Mediterranean diet and engaged in physical exercise and consumed moderate amounts of alcohol – mostly wine – and did not smoke, showed a 65 percent reduction in overall deaths.  (These reductions were from heart disease, cancer and other causes.)

The Mediterranean diet emphasizes whole grains, fish, nuts, legumes, olive oil, fruits, vegetables and potatoes.  It is rich in antioxidants, phytochemicals, fiber and Omega-3 fatty acids.  One purpose of the Mediterranean diet is to maintain a stable weight.

Dishes, Nutrition

Whole Wheat Pasta with Chicken, Asparagus and Tomatoes

pastavegetables

Yield:  4 servings

8 ounces uncooked whole wheat rotini (corkscrew pasta) or penne pasta
Cooking spray
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1/4-inch strips
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (1-inch) slices asparagus
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup (1 ounce) crumbled goat cheese
Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken and asparagus to pan; sauté 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and garlic to pan; sauté 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in pasta, basil, vinegar, and oil. Arrange 2 cups pasta mixture on each of 4 plates; top each serving with 1 tablespoon cheese.

Trail Mix

This can be done in any combination and quantity to suit your individual tastes and needs. Here are a few suggestions for ingredients:

Nuts and Seeds (Almonds, Cashews, Peanuts, Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Walnuts, Pecans)

Dried Fruit (Apples, Apricots, Raisins, Cranberries, Cherries, Coconut, Mango, Pineapple, Berries)

Refreshing Alternative Beverage

Instead of water try this to keep yourself hydrated:

4 cups water

1 cup fresh mint or 4 tea bags of mint tea or any herbal tea

Bring water to a boil and pour over herbs or tea bag. Let mixture steep for 10-15 minutes. Remove herbs or tea bags and let cool. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.