GO BAKED!  Beets, kale, sweet potato, apple, bacon..the list goes on.  These are a great alternatives to regular old potato chips.  Whether you are having a BBQ…looking for a fun and easy alternative to your normal chip or you are teaching your kids about veggies, this is a fun way to have your fruits or veggies.

*No matter the vegetable you’re baking, the process is essentially the same – lay slices on a baking sheet, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and any other seasonings, then bake for approximately 30 minutes, and rotate the pan once halfway through.   Using a mandoline is the easiest way to make veggies chips.  This is a kitchen tool that helps slice your veggies thin enough to bake.  Your homemade chips will stay fresh in an airtight container for several days.

Nutrient Low-Down:
Baking vegetables breaks down the hard cellular structure, which makes them tender and easy to digest.    This increases the amount of nutrients than can be absorbed by the intestines.  Minerals, vitamins and macronutrients are generally stable during cooking, but some vitamin levels may decrease when food is heated.  Raw-food advocates claim that cooking destroys important enzymes, or proteins necessary for biological reactions in your body.  Enzymes in foods are broken down by your body like other proteins.  Personally, I am a proponent of both raw and cooked food and doing what works best for you.

The bottom line is that although cooking degrades some nutrients, absorption of the remaining nutrients is increased.  Your body must break down carbohydrates to sugars, proteins to amino acids and fats into fatty acids in order to absorb and utilize them.

Vegetables are key sources of fiber, potassium, folic acid, vitamins A, E and C, and many other essential nutrients.  Vegetables are high in complex carbohydrates, low in calories and contain low to moderate amounts of protein.  I am firm believer that vegetables are crucial in everyones diet – regardless of where you live, what culture you associate with and what ‘type’ of eater you are!