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How to choose healthier chips or crisps

Bowl of potato chips

Craving chips? There are now plenty of ‘healthier’ options to choose from, so Healthy Food Guide shows you how to pick the best ones.

No longer only potato-based, you’ll find everything from pea and lentil to seaweed chips stocked on supermarket shelves these days. But while you might think the newer, trendier chips are a better-for-you choice, many are just a chip off the old block. So, before you rip open and dive into that packet, read on to discover the nutrition behind ‘healthy’ chips.

What makes for a healthier chip?

Saturated fat and sodium (salt) are the two key considerations when it comes to choosing chips. In excess, these nutrients can be detrimental to heart health, so aim to keep your intake to a minimum. Their amount varies hugely among brands, so look for chips that have less than 600mg sodium per 100g, and less than 5g saturated fat per 100g. The lower, the better!

It’s also important to scan the ingredients list. You want a short ingredients list comprising only of vegetables, oil and salt. That’s it! Long lists with additives and flavours are best avoided. Many new-wave chips are made from highly refined flours and powders, but these aren’t the healthiest choice since they’re far from real food.

What’s on the shelf?

Potato chips are made from — you guessed it — potatoes, salt and oil. Sometimes they have flavourings. Interestingly, sweet potato chips tend to contain more salt than regular potato chips.

Corn chips are made from corn, oil, salt and flavourings. Corn chips can offer a decent dose of fibre, particularly if they have trendy additions such as hemp seeds.

Veggie chips are usually made from refined vegetable flours like cassava, lentil and/or chickpea. While they sound healthier, they usually aren’t. In fact, they can contain sky-high levels of sodium.

Popped and puffed chips are also made from heavily processed ingredients like potato starch, pea powder and corn flour. While they can be just as salty as regular chips, some varieties provide less total fat, but are still just as moreish!

Grain chips are made from wheat, oats and rice, and are a welcome addition to the chip family. Look for ones made with whole grains for a bigger boost of hunger-busting fibre.

DIY chips

For a truly healthier chip, have a go at making your own at home. Thinly slice vegetables, such as sweet potato, beetroot or parsnip, then place in a single layer on a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and season with a tiny pinch of salt or chilli powder. Bake in a hot oven until crisp and voila! You’ve got crunchy, healthy chips in your hands.

Shop like a dietitian

Pick a healthier bag of chips by checking the nutritional label on the back of the packet for:

  • Less than 600mg sodium per 100g
  • Less than 5g sat fat per 100g