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What should we make of vegetable chips?

Published on October 21, 2014 at 14:42 / Updated on August 19, 2019 at 20:00

It is the end of the afternoon and your stomach is growling, so you head straight to the vending machines! You are tempted by a bag of vegetable chips. But is this snack really healthier than traditional potato chips? Actually, it depends on the ingredients they contain, and how they were made. However, for the most part, the rule of thumb is they should not become a regular daily snack.

Calorie-wise, there is no real advantage to choosing spinach or tomato chips, because most brands of vegetable chips contain just as many calories and fat as traditional potato chips do. That is 270 calories per 50 grams of vegetable chips, versus 280 calories for traditional chips. Why do they have such a close calorie content you ask? Because they are cooked the same way: fried in oil!

When it comes to nutritional content, these snacks do not actually have enough nutritional elements to be counted in the ten portions of fruits and vegetables Canada’s Food Guide recommends we eat every day. The manufacturers do not even indicate the proportions of each vegetable contained in these chips. Potatoes are usually the main ingredient and the other vegetables are mainly used to give colour to the finished product. In addition, the numerous transformations raw foods are put through significantly reduce the quantities of vitamins and nutrients they contain. To make vegetable chips, the first step is dehydrating the vegetables. They are then crushed and added to the preparation, and are dried again. This is why vegetable chips contain very little or no vitamin A and C, while the vegetables in their natural states are rich in them. It is also important to remember that a bag of chips also contains a significant amount of salt.

What should you do then? If you find yourself standing in front of the famous vending machine, you could start by looking for baked chips as opposed to fried ones as they contain a lot less fat. However, considering chips as an occasional treat is infinitely better for your health. For a really healthy snack, you should opt for foods like fruits, vegetables, yogurt or homemade muffins.

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