JJ Smith's Complete Guide to Veggie Alternatives

Discover just how many vegetables are in these veggie alternatives.

It's time to end the debate: Can you really achieve your recommended daily intake of vegetables without eating any vegetables in their true form? The answer is maybe. Supermarket shelves are packed with items branded as your way to eat vegetables without actually eating them. Except most of the veggie snacks, wraps, and carb alternatives don’t have the vegetable content they tout.

Is it true that you can sneakily achieve your recommended daily vegetable serving by eating foods that you love? Investigate the vegetable alternatives on the market with Nutritionist JJ Smith.

Veggie Chips

A quick glance at the nutrition label of your favorite vegetable chips might reveal that you’re not consuming the nutrients you thought you were. Most veggie chips are simply vegetable flavored potato-based snacks that only satisfy your crunchy and salty cravings.

When vegetables are processed into chips, many of the vitamins and beneficial plant chemicals are destroyed. What’s left is a snack with fewer nutrients and a high dosage of fat and sodium.

Although you don’t have to swear off this crunchy snack completely. Instead choose the veggie snacks that look more like the whole vegetable, including dehydrated broccoli or mushrooms. These products will most likely have less salt and carbs than the more processed popular vegetable chip brands.

Veggie Tortilla Wraps

You’re not actually getting your daily vegetable intake when you choose the veggie wrap over the flour tortilla wrap. Some tortilla wraps contain more calories and carbs than two slices of bread, and veggie wraps are no different. A typical vegetable tortilla can contain 100 more calories than two slices of bread worth 70 calories.

When vegetable wraps are processed they lose any nutrients provided by the vegetable ingredients. Ditch the tomato and spinach wraps with insignificant nutritional value and instead opt for a wheat wrap loaded with vegetables inside to up your veggie load.

Vegetable Pasta

You may be able to count that pasta you had for dinner as a vegetable serving, and we're not talking about the noodles made of shaved vegetables. On the higher end of packaged veggie pasta, there is a full serving of vegetables in each four-ounce portion.

Make sure to look at the label, because not all processed vegetable pasta is created equal. Vegetable enriched pasta often has about the same number of calories and carbohydrates as white flour pasta, but with slightly more fiber from the vegetable puree.

Collard Green Leaves

Push the bread aside, because the collard green leaf is a nutrition-packed alternative for your favorite sandwich. Packed with five grams of protein per cup and tons of vitamins, this swap will serve one nutritious meal.

Simply stuff a collard green leaf with your sandwich favorites like hummus and other vegetables. It will taste so good you won’t even notice the difference. See for yourself, and try this Curry Chicken Salad recipe that uses collard green leaves as a wrap alternative.

Jicama Chips

Cut your calorie intake with the vegetable chip alternative. While the typical potato chip serving is about 150 calories, the savory Jicama chip will be about 100 calories per serving. When you’ve got a craving for chips, reach for this vegetable alternative that is high in fiber, low in calories, and filled with calcium and iron.

These can be purchased at the store and can easily be made at home as well. Try this recipe for Spicy Jicama Chips for a vegetable boost with a kick!


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