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    Chips and Dips That Are Good for You

    It's the time of year for munching in front of the TV. We've got healthy versions of popular snacks

    There are so many reasons to be channel surfing right now. The daily drama of the election aftermath, the fall return of our favorite TV shows and a football season when college and pro games are at the "must-win" stage. Because all of us armchair critics and quarterbacks need some lean, delicious snacks, I'm sharing my recipes for healthy — yes, healthy — chips and dips.

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    Chips and dips are ideal snacking food but many are addictively good and decadently bad. Oily potato chips and fat-laden French onion dip, for example. Then there are the good-for-you offerings — store-bought baked chips and fat-free dips — with impressive calorie counts but terrible taste and odd textures. My healthy dips and chips offer health and taste. These chips and dips are so nutritious you could feel good about enjoying them as dinner while watching your favorite team or show.

    My Taste-Like-Fried Tortilla Chips are baked whole. They're more fun this way, plus you can break them into smaller pieces and scoop up more of the healthy dips. Baking your own chips also allows you to control the sodium. In fact, if you opt not to season the tortillas, you can enjoy crisp from-scratch no-sodium corn chips! To replicate the taste and texture of fried chips, brush the tortillas with minimal oil — it's only 1 teaspoon, or 40 calories, for a full serving of two whole tortillas.

    All of the dips — Avocado and Toasted Corn Guacamole, Easy Black Bean Dip, Mango Salsa — are vibrant, varied and simple, each one nutrition in a bowl.

    Tastes-Like-Fried Tortillas

    Serves 3

    This recipe easily doubles. Simply adjust oven racks to upper and lower-middle positions and use 2 large cookie sheets, switching pans after about 8 minutes when turning over the tortillas.

    6 corn tortillas

    1 tablespoon olive oil

    Kosher salt

    Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange tortillas in a single layer on a large cookie sheet. Brush both sides of each tortilla with oil and lightly sprinkle with salt. Bake until crisp and golden brown, turning tortillas over after about 8 minutes, until fully crisp and golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes.

    Next page: Avocado and toasted corn guacamole. »

    Avocado and Toasted Corn Guacamole

    Makes a generous 2 cups

    For an even lighter guacamole you can substitute 3/4 cup thawed frozen green peas that have been pureed in a food processor for 1 of the avocados.

    1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen

    2 avocados, halved, pitted, flesh spooned out and coarsely mashed

    2 medium scallions, thinly sliced (about 1/4 cup)

    2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

    2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

    1/2 teaspoon hot sauce such as Chiloula or Tabasco

    Salt and pepper

    Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add corn and toast in dry skillet until spotty brown, about 5 minutes; cool slightly.

    Meanwhile, mix remaining ingredients, including salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl; stir in corn, transfer to a serving bowl and serve. (Can be covered and refrigerated for a couple of hours.)

    Easy Black Bean Dip

    Makes a generous 1-1/2 cups

    Of these three healthy dips, this one is the most simple to make … and look how good-for-you it is.

    1 can (15 to 16 ounces) black beans, drained, 1 cup mashed, 1/2 cup left whole

    1/2 cup your favorite prepared salsa

    1 medium scallion, sliced thin

    2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

    1 tablespoon lime juice

    Salt and ground black pepper

    Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl, seasoning to taste, if necessary, with salt and pepper. Serve! (Can be covered and refrigerated for a couple of days.)

    Mango Salsa

    Makes about 3 cups

    Any leftover salsa can be tossed into tomorrow's salad. You can also use it as a topping for sautéed or grilled chicken breasts, pork chops, shrimp, fish or even crab cakes.

    1 mango, peeled, pitted and diced small

    1/2 red bell pepper, halved, stemmed, seeded and diced small

    1/2 jalapeno, halved, stemmed, seeded and minced

    1/4 red onion, diced small

    2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

    2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

    Salt and pepper

    Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. Serve! (Can be covered and refrigerated overnight.)

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    Check out the AARP home page every day for healthy eating tips, cooking ideas and more.

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