Trying to get kids to eat healthy can sometimes seem like a chore, especially with all of the junk food that is readily available. Honestly, it can be difficult for some adults too.
A popular junk food, potato chips are a huge seller and have been for many years now, and their healthy alternative the sweet potato chips have become a favorite to many as well. There are actually several vegetables that can be made into crisp delicious “chips.” Rainbow chips are an awesome alternative to the plain old potato chip and they offer much more nutritional value. Just like the potato, rainbow chips are healthier when baked instead of fried, but they’re delicious just the same. One other option some people prefer is to use a dehydrator to make their chips, though I have never personally done it that way.
The potato is a root vegetable, and there are several other root vegetables that will fry up or bake just the same as a potato. You can even use some leafy greens like the well-known kale chip. Some kids don’t like to try new things, and many of them go on a vegetable strike at some point in their lives. Thankfully, these rainbow chips stir up a curiosity and spark an excitement because they’re colorful and tasty.
Vegetables For Rainbow Chips
Kale, Carrots, Beets, Parsnips, Cabbage, Sweet Potatoes, Turnips, Jerusalem Artichokes, Cassava, Yucca, Plantain, Radish, Taro, Zucchini, Spinach
Fruits For Rainbow Chips
Apples, Pears, Pineapple, Banana, Peaches, Apricots
I highly recommend getting a mandoline for the kitchen; it is a really great tool to have. Slicing potatoes by hand will take forever; a mandoline gets the job done fast and efficiently with fewer chances of being cut. I also like the fact that most of them come with different blades and sizes which, allow you to easily switch from thick to thin slices. You can also get separate attachments if you wish so you can make waffle chips.
There is no recipe to follow when it comes to the rainbow chips. All you have to do is slice your vegetables. If they are really wet, I recommend patting them dry so they will crisp properly.
Directions for Frying:
If you are going to fry your chips make sure you choose a healthy oil that isn’t full of unhealthy fats – coconut oil or olive oil both work well. To fry the chips, put the oil in a high-sided wok or pot and heat until reaches 300 degrees. Carefully place each chip in the oil and let fry for about 2-5 minutes (or to desired crispiness). Once crisp, drain off as much of the oil as possible, and season to taste.
Directions for Baking:
If you are going to be baking your chips, get your oven preheated. You have two options when using the oven: you can either cook the chips at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for a short amount of time (about 20 minutes) or let them cook on a low heat of about 175 degrees for a longer length of time (around an hour). Make sure to check on the chips regularly until they have reached your desired crispiness, and record the time for the next batch you make in the future. Just as with the frying method, if you use any oil choose something light and healthy. I personally prefer olive oil.
Take your sliced vegetables, put them in a bowl big enough to toss them in, add a very little bit of oil and toss it until the veggies are lightly coated. If you need more oil add a little more – it’s always better to have to add because you can’t subtract. Season the chips to taste and bake them until they’re crisp. When you use the baking method, vegetables such as cabbage that have a high moisture content should be baked slow and low in order to allow the chip to crisp. You can add all sorts of seasonings and herbs to your chips to add different flavors.
The good news for those of you who are not big fans of cooking is that you can find different veggie chips at some local grocers, online, and at most natural foods stores.
Fruit chips must be baked and there are just a couple more steps necessary. When your fruit is sliced and ready, lightly brush it with lemon juice to help seal in the freshness and to help it keep from discoloring. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Lay out the fruit and brush with lemon juice.
Different fruit will cook for different amounts of time.
Apples & Pears cook for 1 ½ hours.
Pineapple takes 2 ½ hours.
Bananas take 3 hours.
It is important to flip the fruit every 20 minutes or so to get a nice even crisp.
Peaches & Apricots must be blanched in boiling water for about a minute and a half with the skins on. Remove them from the water, drain, and allow them to cool down enough so you can handle them. Lay out on the parchment and bake at 375 degrees F until crisp.
All of these chips are tasty and are good for you. Your kids will love the variety, flavors, and colors of these chips. The good thing about them is all you have to do is offer them chips and they almost always try them before asking what kind of chip it is.