But I Just Want Some Chips!?

by in Healthy Tips, February 9, 2009

If you sometimes long for a salty crunch, don’t beat yourself up — the best of us battle cravings every now and then. So which chips should you choose? Are all chips created equal?

Handy Portions
Most chip labels mark a serving size as a single ounce, but unless you have a scale around, it’s hard to figure out how many to have. Stick to a good old handful — about 10-12 chips. This easy measure keeps portions reasonable and fat and calories under control.

Lighter Options
Light and reduced fat chips are lower in calories, but that doesn’t mean endless munching. A serving of reduced-fat plain potato chips has only 20 fewer calories and 3 grams of fat less than the regular kind. Beware of fat-free chips made with Olestra, an oil substitute that literally goes right through you (side effects include diarrhea, gas and abdominal cramping). It’s not worth it as far as I’m concerned. Labels come with this warning. You will be much better off choosing chips made with more wholesome oils such as corn, safflower or canola. Baked chips contain some oil but are lower in fat than other options.

If you are watching your sodium intake, “lightly salted” chip versions are available –- they have about half the sodium of regular chips. I have even found unsalted chips.

Potatoes or Bust?
Your chip choices don’t end at potatoes. Unique varieties include sweet potatoes, taro and other root vegetables such as beets and parsnips. I like to snack on corn tortilla chips (corn is a whole grain, you know). Trader Joe’s Soy and Flax Seed Chips have a nutty flavor and, of course, that salty crunch — plus, they have a small amount of Omega 3 fats.

To Snack or Not to Snack?
Healthy eating is not about deprivation. When you want some chips, have some — but only a handful.

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Comments (5)

  1. Beth says:

    i love tortilla chips and salsa :)

  2. Janice says:

    I’m with you! Even dietitians need to eat potato chips now and then. Moderation is the key…

  3. Leanne says:

    I agree!! Trader Joe’s Soy and Flax chips are awesome. They also have some of the best pita crisps I have ever tasted. They are the Trader Joe’s brand. Try them!

  4. Jess says:

    When I’m craving something crunchy and salty, I eat Triscuits (sometimes with peanut butter or light cream cheese). They always hit the spot and are much healthier and more filling (yay whole grains!)

  5. Liene Virse says:

    I was retaining salt when I was pregnant and wish I had read this about unsalted chips. I love Dana’s articles and hope she writes more and more!

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