One of my favorite things about traveling to Italy is aperitivo. If you know, you know. But if you have no clue what this is, I’m here to tell you!
Aperitivo is the glorious evening hours during which you relax while waiting for your nightly meal. It’s unlike the American Happy Hour because it doesn’t revolve around discounts or drink specials. Instead, diners are served complimentary snacks and little bites to enjoy while they socialize in the piazza with an aperitif - an alcoholic drink consumed prior to a meal that is meant to prepare the taste buds for future courses, my favorite being the Aperol Spritz!
...Okay, I'll stop my wanderlust and get to the point!
The BEST part of those complimentary snacks I mentioned are these light, crispy, perfectly salted Italian potato chips that I’ve noticed are universally served as part of aperitivo around the country. That’s consistency; and I love to see it.
Of course, when you’re on vacation you should absolutely enjoy these understated delicacies on every occasion! But when it’s the middle of the week and your workload has you scrounging for a salty snack to get you to dinner, you may be better off choosing a more nutritious option!
Lucky for all of us just about every food imaginable has been transformed into some variation of a chip. Here are six of my favorite alternatives that provide a little extra nutrition in addition to a satisfying, salty crunch!
BTW! These are not ranked by my liking, or in any particular order…
Snak Yard Crunchy Shiitakes. I found these at Costco a few months ago and have been hooked ever since. Even if you don’t like mushrooms, you might like these. They’re extra crunchy & just slightly cheesy (dairy free, however). I love them for topping grain bowls or veggie stir-fry!
Biena Roasted Chickpeas. The sea salt variety pairs well with greek yogurt if you’re looking for a higher protein snack. They’re also perfect for travel and won’t get soggy or melt in your suitcase. Although, I definitely recommend trying the chocolate dipped variety at some point, which are not suited for travel.
Rhythm Superfoods Kale Chips. Have you ever tried to make kale chips at home? I have and they turn out as limp lettuce. Don’t worry - these are not that. They’re 100% delicious and, although this has not been proven, I think they would stand up to the dip test. It’s important to note that the bag only contains 2 servings, so these are best enjoyed on a day when you aren’t ravenous and want to scarf down handfuls at a time.
Trader Joe’s Dehydrated Rainbow Carrot Snacks. Hopefully these are here to stay! Leave it to TJ’s to put out a simple, delicious snack that has 11g of fiber per serving! I love these wrapped in a tortilla with turkey & cheese.
Gimme Roasted Seaweed Snack. Another favorite for those of us who like seaweed! Again, I repeat, for those of us who like seaweed! It’s totally okay if you don’t - you aren’t missing out on any magic nutrients. But please, don’t purchase these expecting them to taste like a potato chip. If you ARE a seaweed fan - I love these, and you can find them at most stores.
Bada Bean Broad Beans. If I did have to rank this list, these would probably be first. So I suppose I saved the best for last! The 100 calorie packs are PERFECT to keep in your bag when you’re on-the-go, and are an amazing addition to add crunch to that restaurant salad that you asked to hold the croutons on.
...and I didn’t even get started on popcorn!