Did you know our sense of smell, sight, touch, and sound contribute more to the pleasure of eating than our sense of taste? As much as 80% of our sense of taste comes from the olfactory receptors in our nose. Human teeth are exquisitely sensitive, able to detect a grain of sand or grit 10 microns in diameter.
One of the reasons people like potato chips is because they make a pleasing crunchy noise when chewed. Mary Roach, author of Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, notes that the audible crunch of crispy foods comes from their inherent brittle facture: a sudden, high-speed crack. In order to get this noise, you need crack speeds of 300 meters per second. Roach writes, "The crunch of a chip is a tiny sonic boom inside your mouth."
Roach suggests that we like crunchy food because historically, crispness equaled freshness. Compared to a crunchy apple, a mushy apple is decidedly less fresh. However, while processed food like a six month old bag of Cheetos stays crunchy, it is certainly not fresh. Instead of giving your kids food-like products that have been on the shelf for months, why not make your own fresh chips?
You can make your own chips from fresh produce like eggplants. I have also tried king oyster mushroom chips and kale chips. Baby bok choy chips are especially tasty. Each leaf can be peeled off into a conveniently sized chip, and the dark green leafy parts nicely crisp up in the oven.
Roach, Mary. 2013. Gulp: adventures on the alimentary canal.