Let There Be Munching
By Jessica Cho, HealthCorps Summer Intern 2019
The crunch, the saltiness, and the lip-smacking flavor of the potato chip makes it an ultimate snacking favorite. Plain sea salt, barbecue, sour cream and onion, salt and vinegar, ranch…wavy, baked, or crinkle-cut– the potato’s possibilities are endless and delicious.
Unless a particular treat or craving causes you to indulge uncontrollably, most food experts feel it is perfectly okay to include these snacking foods in your diet in moderation. It is, however, a good idea to find healthier versions of some of your favorite, but fatty munchies.
Chip Buying Tips
When buying chips, single serving bags are preferable because they help with portion control. If you allow yourself to have one individual bag, you’re less likely to overeat than in the presence of a family size bag. Try to target 140 calories per single serving bag or less. Turn the bag over and check the nutrition label! The target total fat should be 6 grams or less while the saturated fat should ideally be 1 gram or less. You should strive for zero trans-fat. The sodium (salt) content should be 120 mgs or less per serving. Finally, a small amount of fiber, at least 2 or 3 grams per serving, is never a bad addition.
List of Healthier Favorites
Check out these chip options that have earned excellent marks in both the flavor and nutrition label departments! This list may also offer you something new and different through alternative choices that stray from the potato as the star ingredient. But don’t be fooled! Even the alternatives still meet expectations for flavor and crunch.
- Wise Kettle Cooked Original (Reduced-Fat) Potato Chips: made with only potatoes, vegetable oil, and salt; 130 calories, 6 grams of fat, 110mg of sodium per serving
- SunChips Original Multigrain Snacks: made with 100% whole grains; 140 calories, 6 grams of fat, and 110mgs of sodium per 16 chips
- Popchips Sweet Potato: made from a mix of sweet potatoes, rice flour, and sunflower oil; 120 calories per serving, 4 total grams of fat, 100mg of sodium per ounce
- Tostitos Oven Baked Scoops!: ingredients include just corn, vegetable oil, and salt; 120 calories and 3 grams of fat per 16 chips
- Saffron Road Cucumber Oil Baked Lentil Chips: made from lentil beans, baked instead of fried; 120 calories, 4 grams of protein, and 3 grams of fat per serving
- Beanitos White Bean Skinny Dippers: made from beans, gluten-free; 120 calories, 4 grams fiber, 4 grams of protein per ounce, and 5 grams of fat per serving
- Popchips Yes Peas: made from green and yellow peas, popped instead of fried; includes 6g of protein per serving
- Bare Baked Crunchy Beet Chips: made from beets instead of potatoes, no oil added; 8g of fiber per serving
- Popcorners Sea Salt Popped Corn Snacks: air-popped corn chips, gluten-free; 2.5g total fat per serving, no saturated fat
- Terra Chips in Exotic Harvest: made of carrot, kabocha (a Japanese squash), and naturally blue potatoes, taste sweet and salty; 130 calories per serving
- Terra Chips Taro Chips: made of Taro (a tropical root vegetable); no saturated fat, only 110mg sodium
By being mindful of these nutrition parameters, you are sure to find the perfect substitute for your favorite guilty chip pleasure. Food should be enjoyed. You shouldn’t feel like you can never snack on something you truly love if it’s in moderation and if you try to go for healthier options most of the time. Remember to watch portion size even with healthier choices because sometimes it’s easy to get carried away. But when reaching for healthier alternatives to your typical not-so-healthy chip choice, having just one more! is much less guilt-inducing.