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Calorie Count Blog

What Are The Healthiest Chips


By +Carolyn Richardson on Dec 12, 2012 10:00 AM in Healthy Eating

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.

Sun Chips
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.

Do-It-Yourself Chips

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.


Your thoughts…

If you eat chips regularly, which do you eat and how do you control portions?




Comments


Personally, I think one of the biggest problem with any snack is that we tend to slip it in too often. It's different if you're having some here and there but when you consume it daily or so much of it that it literally replaces a meal or is eaten when you're not actually hungry, it becomes a problem.

Aside from that, you don't always have to add oil to make something crunchy. I've dry toasted a number of foods to give them crunch or just dehydrated them. I've drizzled kale lightly in soy sauce and pepper on a few occasions and just dehydrated them for about 3 hours. They're good with a number of flavors including crushed garlic. Then you just pop it in a bag and you have a new popcorn! Or a crunchy salad topping. 

Baking works too, but I will say that no matter what you do to a high starch, naturally sugary food eating too much will cause problems. Mostly colorful, non-green, foods fall into this category like corn or squash and yes, potato. 



I eat potato chips on a regular basis! For a full year I had PopChips as a snack while losing weight. Then I switched to Good Health Kettle Style Avocado Oil Potato Chips or Olive oil potato chips by the same brand. Needless to say I love chips. But portion control is very important. I always buy them in single serving packs and have never had more than one pack in a day. So it is usually a 100-175 calories snack.

I guess I must add that I don't eat ANY fast food more than maybe once or twice in a year.



pop chips



Sweet Potato Chips, those others that claim you get a helping of vegetables when you eat them.



Popcorn is a great alternative to chips if you control the amount of butter and salt. So are rice cakes.



http://www.popchips.com/popchips/potato/

this info says 120 calories, but the bag i got yesterday read 100 calories. love a bag of chips that's a regular size bag for 100 calories. and they're good. and lower sodium, and potassium. Cool

 



Food That Tastes Good is a nice brand that uses healthy natural ingredients.  I limit my portion size and get a really nice treat at a reasonable calorie cost.



I mostly go for air-popped popcorn, but when I want a more evil crunch I go for Lundberg's Sesame Seaweed rice chips.  They're not really any healthier than potato chips, but I can eat them moderately (more than a serving and I start to feel queasy), whereas my appetite for potato chips is apparently boundless.



"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."

 

I may be incorrect on this, but I beg to differ.  When I make my own Kale chips (which are so easy, cheap and delicious!) I use Great Value Olive Oil cooking spray http://www.walmart.com/ip/Great-Value-Cooking-Spray-100-Extr a-Virgin-Olive-Oil-8-oz/10315915 which as you can see, has no fat or calories - granted, this seems impossible if it's really olive oil.  Now, I don't fry my chips so maybe that's the difference, in which, case the author makes a valid point.  I spray some of the cooking spray on a baking sheet and bake the kale and add a sprinkle of sea salt and some Mrs. Dash.  If I log this cooking spray, it adds no fat or calories to my intake....



Popcorn popped in light olive oil and a bit of salt is my go to crunchy snack.  Still has fat, but the healthier kind.



Try making homemade Kale chips using Pam. Cut fresh kale leaves into sizes similar to potato chips. Place on a baking sheet, spray lightly with any Pam flavor of choice. Bake at 350 for around 10 minutes. When crisp remove from oven. I lightly sprinkle Parmesan cheese on them fresh out of the oven. They are delicious hot or cold.



Special K Cracker Chips. :) 110 Calories for 30 of the Sea Salt Kind, and they're not oily or anything like other chips. I find them pretty satisfying. Compared to Lay's they might taste like cardboard, but I personally think the taste is fine! It's all about portion control though. I count out about 15 ahead of time and put them in a dish then put the bag away, because otherwise, you end up eating too much... and no matter how healthy an alternative something might be, if not in moderation, it's detrimental to your calorie count. :P  The homemade kale chips is a great idea that I'll have to give a try, using Pam. Real oil just racks up calories so quickly it's ridiculous!



Try the new air popped chips - but always check the ingredients list first for total salt, fats and carbs, and be sure to count towards daily totals.  Count out or weigh a portion, then reclose the bag for another time!  Don't snack out of the bag!



I like the different flavors of Kellogg's Cracker Chips.  They have Cheddar, Southwestern Ranch, Honey Barbecue too.  They are 28 chips for 110 Calories.  I count them out for my afternoon snack.  YUM! 



You can make potato chips in the microwave. I like them, and there is limited added oil and I can greatly limit the salt by using no salt seasonings...... I like a little spice in my life so I do cajun.


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