What Are The Healthiest Chips
Last year we reported on a study in an article called the Top 5 Foods that Lead to Long-Term Weight Gain. The number one culprit was potato chips. While the heated comments ripped the study results to shreds, I’m sure some CC readers who could relate secretly resolved to lower their consumption of potato chips, while others looked for an alternative in their snack aisle. Speaking of which, when was the last time you perused this massive runway of salty, processed crunchery? It used to be a three-way split of tortilla, corn, and potato chips in various flavors, but there’s so much more to choose from these days. So, how should a calorie counter choose?
Healthier Potato Chips?
Potato chips are nothing more than thinly-cut, deep-fried potatoes with added salt. A regular 1 oz. bag of Lay’s Classic Potato Chips has 160 calories and a hefty 10 grams of total fat, with just 1 gram of dietary fiber. These stats show potato chips won’t earn you an A on your daily analysis. Surely, the healthier versions are better for you, right? Not so much. Granted Baked! Lays will save you 8 grams of fat and 40 calories, but the added sugar, corn sugar, and soy lecithin to enhance their taste. Whereas that regular bag is just potatoes, salt, and vegetable oil. Lay’s makes a Light version of Lay’s, that’s just 75 calories and no fat, but Olestra, the fat substitute used in many low and non-fat snack products, has been shown to promote weight gain. An animal study last year showed rats ate more of their regular food, which led them to gain more weight and body fat than rats fed regular high-fat potato chips. Fat substitutes also can impact vitamin and mineral absorption which may affect how "healthier" food choices nourish your body.
Alternatives to Potato Chips
Maybe you think a different vegetable will help you get your snack on and save calories? You could be right, but don’t look for these snacks to be the ticket.
With health claims like 18 grams of whole grain, all natural, and 30% less fat than regular potato chips, you may be tempted to grab for these, but the difference isn’t so great in actuality. Sure there’s 2 grams more fiber, but Sun Chips are glorified corn chips. If you opt for real potato chips instead, save the 20 calories and 4 grams of fat you’d lose by eating Sun Chips by eating a bite or two less in one of your other meals.
Trader Joe’s Zesty Nacho Kale Chips
Kale chips are all the rage, and there are a few brands out there waiting for you to dig in. But, no matter how you slice it, or what flavor you buy, the only way you make kale into chips is by adding oil which adds calories. All fat isn't unhealthy, but you can pick and choose your fat if you get it from foods other than chips. Though you’ll add some nutrients from the dark leafy green, you’ll get about the same amount of calories and fat in a regular potato chip. So you know, Rhythm Superfoods’ take on zesty nacho kale chips racks up 220 calories and 10 grams of fat. That’s more than regular potato chips.
Simply 7 Lentil Chips
Lentils are a powerhouse of iron, fiber and protein. So, that’s what we should expect from lentil chips, right? Not so much, lentil flour is far from the super legume in the way of nutritional value, so chips made with it are scant on fiber, and they won’t save you more than 20 calories and 4 grams of fat compared to regular potato chips. Instead of going for the lentil chip okey-doke, go and boil some water now and prepare your “whole” lentils for your next meal.
There are other healthy chip options including taro, pita, soy, and even hummus chips, but many of them are flour-based and will only save you 20 to 50 calories, a few grams of fat, and add a nominal addition of fiber. Instead, try baking thinly sliced fruit and vegetables in your own oven. Some options include butternut squash, apple, carrot, turnip, beet, zucchini, and radish. Most chips can be made on a baking sheet within 30 to 40 minutes and kept for up to a week. You can bake 1/8-inch thick beets for 40 minutes at 325 °F. Carrot chips can be done in 30 to 35 minutes at 275 °F. Or try this recipe for Butternut Squash chips.
If you eat chips regularly, which do you eat and how do you control portions?