All That and a Bag of Chips

"All that and a bag of chips"---this phrase is usually a slam against someone who is conceited or arrogant. Perhaps the phrase originates in the concept of completeness; a meal complete with a "bag of chips". The phrase itself got me to thinking…."and a bag of chips" is ubiquitous in our society, not in the personality description, but on the menu side of things. How many school lunchboxes contain a sandwich, drink AND a bag of chips? I attend several meetings wherein a lunch is served usually including a sandwich and you guessed it, a bag of chips. Now I am not knocking the potato industry, in fact I filmed a series of videos featuring the much maligned potato, (http://web.extension.illinois.edu/cce/); I am simply stating that "a bag of chips" need not be included in every lunch.

Potato chips fall short in the nutrition department with 1 ounce (about 20 chips) weighing in with 155 calories, 10 grams of fat and 149 mg of sodium. We are hardwired to prefer crunchy, salty, sweet things and the manufacturers know it, offering up a veritable banquet of the sweet, salty, crunchy goodies. Available in every grocery and convenience store across America, chips have become the norm. What could be a worthy substitute for the chips? How about carrot "coins"? Simply peel carrots then slice horizontally across the end to make little coin shaped "chips"; include a container of lowfat dip or peanut butter and you have a nutritious alternative to the bag of chips. Or cut whole grain tortillas into 6 wedges, spray lightly with vegetable oil spray and bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes for homemade chips. You could also make snack mix by combining whole grain cereals with dried fruit and lightly salted nuts. Or if you are adventurous, try kale chips with the recipe below. All of these suggestions can be made in advance in large enough quantities to last several days; simply place a single serving into a plastic bag and store until you need to pop it into the lunch box or bag.

Kale Chips

3 cups of kale (about 10 large leaves)
2 tsp olive oil
1/8 tsp salt (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F
  2. Wash kale and spin dry in a salad spinner
  3. Remove kale leaves from center stalk and tear into bite- sized leaves
  4. Spread kale leaves out on baking sheet.
  5. Drizzle with olive oil
  6. Sprinkle with salt (optional)
  7. Bake for 15 minutes or until kale is crispy with edges slightly browned.
  8. Enjoy

This post come from Mary Liz Wright, the Nutrition and Wellness Educator serving the counties of Clark, Crawford and Edgar. Wright's expertise is in food preservation, food safety, school gardens, school wellness, and communication/demonstration. Wright is the host of a series of cooking videos, "What's Cooking with Mary Liz Wright" featured on the U of I Extension website, http://web.extension.illinois.edu/, under the Youtube icon.