This Healthy Swap Should Replace Your Potato Chips

If downing a bag of crunchy, salty potato chips is your go-to snack, you're not alone. According to Statista, over 284 million Americans — or roughly 85% of the population — ate potato chips in 2020.

Americans have been munching on potato chips for well over a century. The invention of the potato chip has a few different origin stories; however, the most popular version gives credit to a notable chef of Native American and African heritage, named George Crum (via The History Channel). One day in 1853, American shipping and railroad tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt was dining at Moon's Lake House, a popular restaurant in Saratoga Springs, New York where Crum worked. Vanderbilt complained about his fried potatoes not being thin enough and returned them to the kitchen. Displeased by the criticism, Crum prepared a new order, this time slicing the potatoes ultra-thin and frying them to a crisp. Crum's revamped fried potatoes were a hit with Vanderbilt and the potato chip took off from there. No matter their origin, potato chips have become so popular that they made the top 25 most popular snack foods in the country, per Eat This, Not That!

Healthier snacks to satisfy those munchies

Unfortunately, many of the snacks we tend to crave are not super-healthy choices. ​​"Most chips offer little to no nutritional value and are basically fried carbs full of fat with a little added salt," Boston-based nutritionist Laura Hartung tells University Health News. The problem is that potato chips are manufactured in a way that keeps you wanting more. "They're crispy, crunchy, and a salty snack that tastes really, really good," says Hartung. "But who can eat just one chip or even the measly 13-chip serving size recommendation?"

Given their high-salt and high-fat content, potato chips can lead to some serious health problems like heart disease, per LIVESTRONG. In addition to the inherent, unhealthy ingredients in potato chips, Newsweek reports that frying potatoes at high temperatures creates a chemical called acrylamide, which has been known to cause cell damage, which could lead to cancer.

So what's a potato chip addict to do? Luckily, there are healthier alternatives that will not only help satisfy your cravings but help you feel better overall. The experts at Healthline point out that you can swap out your chips for crunchy vegetables, like carrots or cucumbers, and pair those with a nutritious and tasty dip like hummus or guacamole. If you can't shake the need for a chip-like feel, then go for healthier kale or beet chips over the standard grocery store potato chips. Or be your own chef — roast some thinly sliced sweet potatoes in the oven and enjoy chomping on this healthier potato chip alternative to put you in a chipper mood.