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The Best and Worst Packaged Chips for Your Health

Photo: Taste of Home

Is there such thing as a healthy chip? We scoured the grocery aisles to find out.

Finding it hard to imagine a “healthy” chip? That’s understandable! It’s no surprise that potato chips don’t have a superfood reputation. But it’s possible to indulge responsibly with a healthier brand. You’ll want to check the nutrition facts for something with the highest fiber and protein, but the lowest saturated fats and sodium.

Just look at the labels in the grocery store, or pick up our dietitian-recommended brands for a healthier crunch.

Our Top 5 Healthy Chips

Bare Veggie Chips

Bare Veggie Chips are made from carrot, sweet potato or beet, which makes them high in fiber. Simply, these chips contain a short ingredient list. It’s about as unpretentious as you can get! Nutritionally, they pack 3-4 grams of protein per serving. Look for flavors such as BBQ sweet potato, ranch carrot and salt and vinegar beet.

Your bag of chips might be half-full—here’s why each bag has so much air.

Saffron Road Baked Lentil Chips

One smart way to improve the nutritional quality of your chips is to swap out the main ingredient for pulses. (Here’s why we’re crazy about pulses!) Lentils are super high in fiber and protein, so these healthy chips naturally boast these nutrients, too. Saffron Road Baked Lentil Chips have only 3 grams of fat per serving (with NONE from saturated fats) and clever flavors to choose from—like cucumber dill, cracked pepper, Moroccan barbecue and sea salt.

Eat Your Vegetables Chips

Thanks to an amazing mixture of vegetables (carrot, sweet potato, kale, spinach, broccoli, tomato, beet, shiitake mushrooms and red and black beans), you almost can’t go wrong with these tasty chips. The power-packed veggies make Eat Your Vegetables Chips high in vitamins, which no other chip can claim. In one serving, you’ll get 30% of your daily vitamin C and 25% of vitamin A, not to mention 10% of vitamins D, E and B6.

Beanitos White or Black Bean Chips

Pulses are the beauty of these delish healthy chips, too. Beanitos White or Black Bean Chips have only 130 calories per serving with 4 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein and 6.5 grams of healthy fats. The white bean-based flavors include sweet chili and sour cream and garden fresh salsa. The Skinny Dippers variety contain 6% of your daily iron needs in a low-calorie serving. They’re all gluten and corn free, if food sensitivity is an issue for you.

Baked Ruffles Cheddar and Sour Cream Potato Chips

So you really want a good old-fashioned potato chip? Choosing these baked Cheddar and Sour Cream Potato Chips saves a ton of fat and calories when compared to your traditional potato chips. In other words, they’re flavor-packed without the guilt. You could also make your own microwave potato chips with heart-healthy olive oil.

The Least-Healthy Choices

Chili Cheese Fritos

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a snack chip higher in sodium. With 270 mg of sodium per serving, this equates to the amount in a slice of processed cheese. These salty snacks have virtually no fiber, but 10 grams of fat per serving, more than in a McDonald’s hamburger. Skip these chips for a healthier choice.

Cheetos

Nope, these aren’t a good substitute for high-calcium cheese! Rather, with 10 grams of fat and almost no fiber, they’re really nothing more than empty calorie bombs. The baked version is a healthier choice, however.

Kettle Brand Potato Chips

With a huge variety of flavors on the market, these crunchy, savory chips are quickly flying off the shelf. But the sea salt variety is a fat bomb with 14 grams per serving, more than a whole tablespoon of butter. The jalapeno flavor contains 180 mg of sodium and the pepperoncini 170 mg of sodium, so this chip can quickly bust your sodium budget.

Psst…Here’s why potato chips are so addictive.

Ruffles Cheddar and Sour Cream Potato Chips

The fried Cheddar and Sour Cream Potato Chips make the unhealthy list, with 10 grams of fat and 180 mg of sodium per serving. Stick to the baked version (on the healthy list above!) for the same flavor without the guilt.

When you’re in the snack aisle, take a sec to read the nutrition facts and ingredients to find the healthy chip choices. Don’t forget to pair your chips with fresh vegetables and dip or some fresh fruit kabobs!

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Article by Jennifer Bowers, PhD, RD for Taste of Home. View the original article here.