No matter how much you love vegetables, getting enough of them in your diet can be a task – especially if you have a busy schedule and no time to cook. The market is flooded with "healthy" snack alternatives, but the truly healthy options taste like Styrofoam. The tastier versions tend to be high in calories and fat, and full of weird additives.
The Fresh Market, a chain of specialty food stores based in Greensboro, N.C., makes a line of vegetable chips that manages to be full of flavor and good for you without the nasty preservatives. Instead of deep-frying the vegetables the traditional way, the market uses vacuum-frying technology. Vacuum-frying is done at a lower temperature, which means that the item being fried absorbs less fat, and more nutrients remain. The vegetables are rendered crisp, with clean flavors and a vibrant natural color.
The Fresh Market sells vegetable chip varietals such as green beans and thickly sliced deep-purple sweet potatoes, but the okra and garlic chips deserve special attention. Many people can't get past okra's notorious slime factor – vacuum-frying, however, rids the vegetable of any off-putting textures, and the skin shatters like glass. The salty and spicy seasoning is reminiscent of wasabi peas. As weird as it is to pop a whole clove of garlic in your mouth, each "chip" floods your senses with sweet, bitter, salty, crunchy and pure garlic essence. With chips this good, you have no reason not to eat your vegetables.
Sold at the Fresh Market, $7.99-$11.99 per pound. www.thefreshmarket.com.