on September 05, 2019
Ah, potato chips. Light, crunchy and perfectly salted, they might just be the world’s most addicting food. For keto followers, though, they’re public enemy number one.
Potato chips--and potatoes, for that matter--are high in carbs, and therefore should be avoided on the keto diet. But before you get too upset about saying goodbye to the mouth watering munchie, keep reading, because there are several keto-friendly chip options that will satisfy your craving for a salty, crispy snack without sending your blood sugar shooting through the roof.
Surely a chip or two couldn’t hurt, right? The problem with potato chips is that it’s nearly impossible to eat just one, and once you get started, you’re on a slippery slope to slipping right out of ketosis.
Potatoes are very high on the glycemic index, which measures the carbohydrates in food with respect to the food’s effect on your blood sugar levels. This is because the carbs they’re made of are structured in such a way that the body breaks them down and absorbs them very quickly.
This is a departure from most vegetables, which usually have a lower glycemic index score. Potatoes are so high, though, that they rank close to pure sugar itself. Glucose is at the top of the scale with 100 points, and potatoes rank anywhere from the high 80’s to the low 90’s.
When a food is high on the glycemic index, it means it causes a strong and fast response in the form of a spike in blood sugar. This is the opposite of what we want in ketosis. To achieve ketosis, we want to keep blood sugar low so our body is required to burn stored fats and make ketones for energy, rather than using glucose.
A single one-ounce serving of regular Lay’s classic potato chips is about 15 chips. That same serving contains 15 grams of carbs. That’s a gram of carbs for every chip you eat! So, it’s easy to see how potato chips can kick you out of ketosis faster than you can say “pass the bag over here!”
Now, you might be thinking, ‘not all chips are made from potatoes.’ True, corn chips and tortilla chips are popular options. Though these types of chips are processed differently from potato chips, they’re both made from corn--another problematic food for keto dieters.
Though low in calories, corn is high in carbs. That same one ounce serving--or about 15 corn chips--contains 16 grams of carbohydrates. So while some people may consider corn chips to be a “healthier” alternative to potato chips, for keto followers they’re actually just as dangerous.
It’s worth noting that potato chips are a bad choice for other reasons, not just their carb count. Potato chips are either baked or fried, and most commercial varieties use an oil like canola, soybean or vegetable oil as part of the process. These oils are some of the worst cooking oils for your health.
Vegetable oil (which is an umbrella term for all kinds of different oils) is heavily processed and contains few nutrients. When it’s heated, it oxidizes more easily than higher quality oils like olive or coconut oil. This triggers inflammation in the body and can be detrimental to our health, even potentially contributing to heart attacks.
The bottom line is that if you’re on the keto diet, it’s best to steer clear of potato chips in favor of other keto-friendly chip substitutes.
Next time you’re on the verge of giving in to potato chip temptation, reach for one of these healthier low-carb options instead. We’ve included something for every palate, from veggie to meat and even cheese-based chips.
Avocados to the rescue! (We say that a lot on the keto diet, don’t we?)
This versatile food is filled with nutrients the body loves, like Vitamin K, Vitamin C and folate. It’s cholesterol free and made up of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, which have been shown to lower inflammation and have beneficial effects on genes linked to cancer. Monounsaturated fats are the same kind of fats that make olive oil so nutritious, by the way.
To turn this superfood into a chip substitute, follow this recipe inspired by Delish. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and mash a large, ripe avocado in a medium-sized bowl. Mix in ¾ cup grated parmesan cheese, a splash of lemon juice, ½ teaspoon each of garlic powder and Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper to taste.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and scoop spoonfuls of the avocado mixture onto it. Use the backside of a measuring cup to flatten the scoops into thin, round chips. Pop them in the oven for about 30 minutes or until they’re crisp and golden. Let them cool and enjoy.
We’re so glad kale is finally getting the love it deserves, with all kinds of innovative recipes incorporating the hearty, leafy green. Kale comes from the cabbage family, where it’s related to other nutrition powerhouses like broccoli and cauliflower.
A cup of raw kale contains about 3 grams of protein and 2.5 grams of fiber, which helps fill you up without contributing to the dreaded blood sugar spike we talked about earlier. It’s a good source of Vitamins A, C and K, and lucky for us, it crisps right up to a delicious crunchy snack when baked in the oven.
It couldn’t be easier to work a little magic and turn kale into a substitute for potato chips. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and begin by stripping large kale leaves from their stems, tearing them roughly into chip-sized pieces. Wash them thoroughly to remove any grit, then lay the leaves flat or use a salad spinner to dry them off.
Place the leaves in a large bowl and toss with extra virgin olive oil and salt to lightly coat. Lay them flat on a baking sheet or two. Try not to overlap the leaves too much so they bake evenly. Bake them for about 30 minutes or until they’re brown and crispy.
If you’re pressed for time, you can buy kale chips in the health food section of many grocers.
If you thought kale chips were easy, wait until you try making pepperoni chips.
High in fat and virtually carb free, pepperoni is a perfect keto munchie (check the label on the brand you’re buying, as some seasonings can add a small number of carbs). One serving of pepperoni contains about 5 grams of protein, too.
To make these flavorful potato chip substitutes, all you need is some sliced pepperoni and your oven. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay individual pepperoni slices on the baking sheet, then place in the oven.
After about five minutes, remove your baking sheet and use a paper towel to dab off the excess oil from the pepperoni slices. This will help them finish getting nice and crispy. Place them back in the oven for another 2 to 3 minutes, then cool and eat.
These chips pair well with ranch dressing, guacamole or topped with your favorite cheese.
Low in carbs and high in fat and protein, cheese is a go-to snack for keto followers. It will help you reach your recommended daily intake for calcium, and some studies have even linked cheese to a lower risk for obesity and metabolic disease.
While cheese is an amazing topping on just about everything, the cheese becomes the chip itself in this cheddar cheese keto chip recipe from Wicked Stuffed.
To make them, you’ll combine your favorite shredded cheese with an array of yummy seasonings like cumin, paprika and chili powder. Cheddar or Mexican-blend cheeses work well here. Step up the spices to add more heat if you like. Then, bake until crispy and break into chips.
Enjoy with your favorite keto dip or crumble them over soup or salad in place of croutons. One serving--about a quarter of a baking sheet--worth of these cheesy chips will set you back just 1 gram of carbs.
Salty and crunchy, pork rinds on their own are a solid keto swap for potato chips. They’re high in fat, pack a healthy serving of protein, and contain zero carbs. But you can really kick your snack game up a notch by turning pork rinds into full-fledged nachos.
Simply set your oven to broil and lay out pork rinds on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Top the rinds with a heaping serving of cheese and your favorite keto nacho toppings. Go crazy and customize it to suit your tastes. Some of our favorite keto-friendly nacho toppings are ground beef, shredded chicken, jalapenos, black olives, green onions, and pico de gallo. Broil until the cheese is evenly melted.
Remove from the oven and serve hot with a side of guacamole or sour cream. For best results, make this recipe using larger pork rind pieces that will make it easier to grab hold of the toppings.
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