What’s missing? Your snacks!
Snacks and March Madness go together like Duke basketball and Coach K. Problem is, our all-time favorite salty snacks—potato, tortilla and pita chips—can pack a hefty calorie punch for their puny serving sizes.
In fact, some gourmet chips can pack more than 250 calories and 15 grams of fat per ounce. The good news, however, is that snack food makers have a variety of new healthier chips that cut fat and calories, pump up the protein and fiber while trying to maintain serious taste and crunch. I went on a mission to gather a bunch of the better-for-you chip options and had my husband, Craig, taste-test them all. (I know, it’s hard being a dietitian’s husband.) We narrowed them down to those that had good nutritionals and great taste.
For March Madness, use our guide to America’s All-Star snack chips.
Best Potato Chips
Just so you know, Craig is a “Kiwi dude” so that means he doesn’t eat “diet” food. The potato chips that passed the man-test included Kettle, Cape Cod and Corazonas. These were also the ones that are made from sliced whole potatoes rather than the Pringle-ish options that are made from dehydrated potato. An added benefit of Corazonas is that they contain .4 mg plant sterols, which naturally help to lower cholesterol.
Tasty Tortilla Chips
Tortilla chips tend to have slightly fewer calories and more fiber and less fat than potato chips. They come in a wide variety of options like white, yellow, blue and multigrain. The unhealthiest varieties are usually the white or yellow “restaurant-style” options that are glistening with oil.
Pita Chip Picks
A newer chip category that is less popular—but deserves more attention—from spectators is pita chips. Pita chips are always baked so they naturally have less calories and fat than fried chips. However, they have higher amounts of sodium than most other chips. My man-snacker liked Athenos and Stacy’s best but would eat them only with hummus, bean dip or salsa—not plain.
|All-Star Snack Chips||Calories||Fat (gram)||Sat Fat (g)||Protein (g)||Fiber (g)||Sodium (mg)|
|Baked Lays Barbecue Potato Crisps*||120||3||.5||2||2||210|
|Kettle Brand Baked Potato Chips||120||3||.5||2||2||210|
|Baked Ruffles Original Potato Crisps||120||3||0||2||2||290|
|Pop Chips Barbeque||120||4||0||1||1||250|
|Cape Cod 40% Reduced Fat Potato Chips||130||6||1||2||1||110|
|Cape Cod 40% Reduced Fat Sea Salt & Vinegar||130||6||1||2||2||220|
|Corazonas** Lightly Salted Potato chips||130||6||.5||3||2||90|
|Garden of Eatin’ Baked Blue Chips||120||3||1||3||3||120|
|Guiltless Gourmet Spicy Black Bean Tortilla Chips||120||3||0||3||2||200|
|Tostitos Baked Scoops!||120||3||.5||2||2||125|
|Corazonas** Squeeze of Lime Tortilla Chips||140||7||.5||2||3||140|
|Food Should Taste Good Multigrain Tortilla Chips||140||6||.5||3||3||80|
|Lundberg Rice Chips Fiesta Lime||140||7||.5||2||1||270|
|Pita Chips and Bagel Crisps|
|Athenos Whole Wheat Baked Pita Chips||120||4||0||4||2||270|
|NY Style Multigrain Bagel Crisps||130||5||2.5||3||1||340|
|Stacy’s Simply Naked Pita Chips||130||5||.5||3||1||270|
|NY Style Sea Salt Pita Chips||140||6||3||3||1||350|
*These are made from dehydrated potatoes and have a Pringles-like texture rather than a sliced potato
**Contains cholesterol-lowering plant sterols.
–Julie Upton, MS, RD, CSSD