Store-bought potato chips are notoriously unhealthy. Truth be told, they are okay in moderation, especially brands that focus on the basic ingredients of potatoes, oil, and salt. However, it’s hard to snack on chips in reasonable amounts, which is why people tend to eat too many chips too often.
If you miss potato chips, try a healthier, homemade option: Zucchini chips! You’ll enjoy the crispiness, that satisfying crunch, along with the delicious flavor of cool ranch.
The Dark Side Potato Chips (yes, we know you know)
Although eating deliciously deep-fried chips once in a while won’t hurt, eating them often will. This, of course, is when you look at the big picture, if your diet overall is poor, and you tend not to exercise, then you will have some problems down the road. In this respect, if chips are your Achilles heel, addressing that will help, but if they aren’t then it might not do much eliminating them from your diet.
With that said, the most obvious effects of eating copious amounts of junk food (including chips) is weight gain. Chips are usually high in calories and refined oils. One ounce of plain potato chips — about 15–20 chips — has about 10 grams of fat and 154 calories. A 2015 study published in “Health Affairs” discovered that potatoes fried in oil are one of the foods highly linked to weight gain. 
Chips are high in sodium, which can be detrimental to one’s cardiovascular health. A large intake of sodium can cause high blood pressure, which can lead to a host of health issues like kidney disease, stroke, coronary heart disease, and stroke. Potato chips typically have around 120–180 milligrams of sodium per ounce, and most people tend to eat more than an ounce as they snack.
Eating chips often can also lead to high cholesterol levels. Most chips (unless specified otherwise) are deep-fried, which creates trans fats that are associated with high levels of LDL cholesterol and a higher risk of developing coronary heart disease. The oils used for frying (i.e. sunflower, safflower, and corn oil) are often high in omega 6 fatty acids, which can contribute to inflammation.
For all of the calories in chips, there is little nutrition accompanying them. Chips are often eaten instead of healthier foods that have more vitamins and minerals. Snacks can fill nutritional needs missed at meals, but chips don’t have this benefit. 
The Health Benefits of Zucchini
Speaking of healthier snack options, here’s a healthy chip alternative made from zucchinis. Zucchinis are stuffed with nutrients, like vitamins A and C, with relatively little calories. They also contain soluble and insoluble fiber, which promote healthy digestion by reducing constipation and nourishing healthy bacteria in the gut.
Where potatoes may not be a good choice for people who need to watch their blood sugar, zucchinis may help lower blood sugar levels. This is why this vegetable (although it’s botanically considered a fruit) are a popular substitute for high-carbohydrate foods, like pasta and chips. 
The key to these zucchini chips is to slice them as thinly as possible. If you have a mandolin or a slicer tool in your food processor, use it. The thickness of the slices will affect how long they need to be baked. Check on them after an hour in the oven, but keep in mind that they probably need more time than that.
Trust me, these are worth the wait. These chips give that perfect crunch and flavor, you won’t even miss their potato counterparts. Finally, a snack full of nutrients without compromising on the “munchiness.”
Cool Ranch Zucchini Chips
- Cooking spray
- 2 zucchinis, sliced very thinly
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (for baked version only)
- 1 tablespoon ranch seasoning
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 225°. Grease a large baking sheet with cooking spray. Slice the zucchinis into very thin slices. Pat the slices with paper towels to draw out excess moisture.
- In a large bowl, toss the zucchini slices with oil then mix in the ranch seasoning, oregano, salt, and pepper. Place in a single layer on the baking sheet.
- Bake until crispy, about 1 hour and 20 minutes, checking after about an hour. (Baking time will depend on the thinness of the slices.) Let cool to room temperature before serving.
For Air Fryer:
- Grease air fryer basket lightly with cooking spray. Slice the zucchinis very thinly. Pat the slices with paper towels to draw out excess moisture.
- In a large bowl, toss the slices with ranch seasoning, oregano, salt, and pepper (no oil). Place in a single layer in the basket (a little overlapping is okay).
- Air fry at 375° for about 6 minutes, then flip the slices and cook for another 6 minutes. Remove the golden chips and continue frying remaining chips until they are golden and crispy, about 2 to 4 minutes, shaking basket every minute for even crisping.
Keep Reading: Mini Cauliflower Shepherd’s Pie: Gluten Free, Low Carb
 Dariush Mozaffarian, M.D., Dr.P.H., Tao Hao, M.P.H., Eric B. Rimm, Sc.D., Walter C. Willett, M.D., Dr.P.H. Changes in Diet and Lifestyle and Long-Term Weight Gain in Women and Men. The New England Journal of Medicine. http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1014296 June 23, 2011
 Bridget Coila. What Are the Negative Effects of Chips? SF Gate. https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/negative-effects-chips-2980.html November 21, 2018
 Alina Petre, MS, RD (NL). 12 Health and Nutrition Benefits of Zucchini. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/zucchini-benefits February 19, 2019
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