Real Foods for Healthy Lunch, Part 8: Healthy Alternatives to Potato Chips and Candy, and Grain-Free Granola!

Today’s tip for a healthy lunch is to replace those industrially-made snack chips with some low-carb chips of your own. The above picture shows coconut chips toasted to perfection and seasoned with cinnamon and a smidge of salt. These healthy chips satisfy the desire for something crunchy to much on, and they are totally good for you. As Sarah Pope, the Healthy Home economist explains on her page where you can find the recipe, regular snack chips made in a factory are laced with vegetable oils that turn toxic when fried at high heat. They also contribute to the overproduction of these nasty-sounding things called “endocannabinoids.” These signal the brain to be hungry when you really aren’t, so that’s why “no one can eat just one!”

Now for another item to add the “crunch factor.” These are candied nuts and they are so yummy! I’m sorry the picture is a bit blurry. They are just a bit sticky, so maybe pack some baby wipes with this one, and wrap them up in parchment paper. You can leave the candied glaze off and just have crispy nuts. Here’s the recipe for both variations:

Crispy Almonds

4 cups Almonds

1 Tbs. Sea Salt

Filtered water

Mix almonds with salt and water, and leave in a warm place for at least 7 hours, or overnight. Drain in colander and rinse in cool water. Spread on stainless steel baking sheet, and place in a warm oven (no warmer than 150 degrees) for 12 to 24 hours. Turning occasionally, until completely dry and crisp. Store in a mason jar in your pantry.

Honeyed Crispy Almonds

2 cups Crispy almonds

2 Tbs. Honey or maple syrup

1 tsp. Vanilla extract

2 tsp. Coconut oil, or palm oil, or butter

2-3 drops essential oil of your choice


¼ cup Sucanat, or palm sugar, coconut sugar,

or Rapadura

1 tsp. Sea salt

Place honey, vanilla, and oil or butter into a saucepan, until it starts to simmer slightly. Add nuts, and stir to coat. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the syrup is mostly soaked up. Remove from heat, and add salt and granulated sweetener, fold into almond mixture. Place almonds on waxed paper, and allow to harden at room temperature (or in a 150 degree oven to speed the process.) When dry, break into pieces and store in a covered container.

If you mix the coconut chips with the candied nuts, and shape into bars, you have grain-free granola bars. They make a wonderful combination!

Lastly, we have kale chips. These are soooo much better than potato chips. You could add different essential oils to the recipe to make them even better, like oregano or rosemary. Oooh, they are so divine! The next time I have a baby I am going to have my kids fix these for me to eat during labor. Here is the recipe.  Enjoy! I will be eating these this Thursday at our new family school when I bring lunch for me and all the kiddos. This if the first time my little kids, under 12, are going to be part of our Commonwealth School classes. I am planning the lunch and these will be part of it.

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