When the snack time munchies strike, you know that a handful of potato chips isn’t the way to go. Instead you reach for chips made out of quinoa, sweet potatoes, or veggies. But are they really a better option?
Unfortunately, just because a chip is made out of something traditionally considered healthy, it isn’t a guaranteed healthy snack choice. The process used to make chips, no matter what they’re made out of, can strip many of the foods’ natural health benefits.
When looking for the perfect crunchy snack, it’s important to pay close attention to what’s on the nutrition label and in the ingredients list. For example, our friends over at Shape Magazine found a chip made from quinoa (a normally fiber-rich food) that contained essentially no fiber per serving. However, the chips did have 9 grams of protein and just 12 grams of carbohydrates per 20-chip serving.
Another plus for the quinoa chips was their ingredient list. When looking at an ingredient list, it’s important to remember the first ingredient listed is the ingredient there is the most of. In the case of the quinoa chips, quinoa was the first ingredient listed, unlike the sweet potato chips Shape looked at which had corn listed first.
“Healthy,” or supposedly good-for-you, chips aren’t the only foods that should be investigated a little closer before you snack on them. The phenomenon of foods appearing better for you than they actually are is known as a health halo. For example, there are 70 more calories is Baked Cheetos than there are in the Crunchy variety, even though the term baked implies a healthier choice.
To avoid getting tricked by foods pretending to be healthier than they are, always be sure to check the labels. Also, if you’ve got to have that crunchy snack, try to find an honestly healthy alternative to the classic potato or corn chips.
March 28th, 2014