Jicachips are baked, not fried, and come from the jicama, sometimes called “the Mexican potato.” This root veggie gets its mild sweetness from a starchy substance called inulin. Inulin is actually a prebiotic, meaning it acts as food for probiotics, the healthy bacteria found in fermented foods like kefir, yogurt, miso and more. A 25-chip serving of clocks in at 100 calories, with 5 grams of fiber, less than 2 grams of fat. Flavors include Sea Salt, Smoked BBQ, White Cheddar, Chili Lime, Cinnamon Sugar, and Spicy Soy Ginger.
$2.29 per 0.9-ounce bag on ThriveMarket.com. Also available at Whole Foods Market or via Amazon Prime.
Get going with gum
Research has shown that chewing gum helps people stay alert. Most of the big-name brands of gum, though, are made from base that contains some of the same chemicals used to make plastic, along with a preservative called BHT. Sugar-free gums contain artificial sweeteners. A more wholesome choice: Simply Gum, which contains more recognizable ingredients like natural chicle, a kind of tree sap. The flavors are grown-up, too: The Boost flavor, for instance, boasts organic raw cane sugar, lemongrass oil, turmeric extract and cayenne pepper.
For an extra boost, pick the mint flavor; peppermint stimulates the area of the brain responsible for mental arousal, leaving you more focused, says Alan R. Hirsch MD, director of The Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago. Or go for the Coffee flavor—Hirsch says that, in experienced coffee drinkers, the mere smell of coffee can have a stimulating, Pavlovian-type of effect. And the Fennel Licorice flavor is great for slaying coffee breath.
A pack of Simply Gum retails for $2.99 in retailers like Whole Foods Market and Kroger.