The tasty snack that nourishes your health and the planet

photo by Heidi Sandstrom

Trying to keep up with all the latest health trends and parsing out which foods are best for your health, frankly, can be frustrating enough to send you straight to Taco Bell or diving for your Doritos. There are a lot of different routes out there to wellness and health, and as you sift through heaps of information trying to decide between Whole 30, Paleo, or the gluten-free lifestyle, you might get a little hungry in the interim and need some nourishment that doesn’t come with a layer of grease.

So how about some nutrient-dense chips to keep your energy up? Granted, these are not exactly your ordinary potato chip variety as the team behind Planetarians chips uses unique ingredients and technology to create a tasty, nutritious, and earth-friendly snack that has 3x more protein, 2x more fiber, and 70% less fat than your standard chips.

Planetarians Founder Aleh Manchuliantsau and Chief Mixologist Anastasia Tkacheva teamed up to create chips that reduce food waste, promote health, and of course taste delicious. However, they accomplished this in a very unusual and innovative manner. Planetarians chips are made from up-cycled sunflower oilcakes. Now, I know the phrase ‘up-cycled sunflower oilcakes’ may sound like the opposite of appetizing, but in simplified terms, it means the chips are made from the dry ingredients left over after the oil extraction from sunflower seeds. Manchuliantsau and Tkacheva saw an opportunity when they realized the ingredients left over after processing the sunflower seeds was useless to food manufacturers as the manufacturers either threw it out or used the dry leftovers as animal feed. The two discovered these rejected ingredients, or oilcakes, contain high amounts of protein, fiber, and essential amino acids.

Aleh Manchuliantsau recalled, “Imagine our fascination when we stumbled upon ingredients disregarded by the food industry (they fed it to the cows!) and still had 35 percent protein.”

photo courtesy of Planetarians

All they had to do next was create a process to make it edible and appealing to us humans. Manchuliantsau and Tkacheva accomplished this through thermo-mechanical energy technology. This technology cooks food at high temperatures and high pressures to rid the ingredients of any contaminants as well as break down any insoluble fiber thereby creating chips that are safe for us to consume. All that remains after this process is to sprinkle on some oil, add some seasoning, and package it up. And with thermo-mechanical energy technology, Manchuliantsau and Tkacheva are able to make healthy and nutrient-dense snacks from not only from sunflower oilcakes, but also from coffee grounds, orange peels, and fruit and nut pulp. This up-cycling process from discarded ingredients can feed 1.5 billion people without growing any extra crops helping to reduce our footprint on the planet.

Manchuliantsau says on his site, “When I was a kid – I had a dream – eat chips whenever I want… That time I did not know that my desire can lead me to feed growing population, reduce the impact on the planet and combat diet-related diseases.”

The Planetarians chips were so popular the duo sold out of stock on Amazon when they first rolled out their products. The chips come in three flavors: Sweet and Smoky BBQ, Sweetly Cinnamon, and Fiery Sriracha. All are gluten-free, soy free, vegan, and non-gmo. If you’d like to try it for yourself you can buy a sample pack and the Planetarians company will match 100% of your purchase and donate Planetarians to kids in underserved communities.

As exasperating as it can be figuring out which health plan is right for you, now you have a healthy snack option to at least tide you over.