As the veggie chip trend has grown over the years, store shelves have gotten a little more crowded. While some store-bought veggie chips are as healthy as the kind you can make in your own kitchen, others—thanks to great branding!—only make you think you're getting something that's good for you.
"It’s helpful to keep certain things in mind when choosing your chips. First of all, try not to be smitten by the packaging. Just because it seems wholesome and natural doesn't mean it is. You’re not eating the package, so always flip that bag over and check the nutrition facts panel to see what you’re really getting," says Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, creator of BetterThanDieting.com and author of Read It Before You Eat It. "It's also important to pay attention to the sodium, as well as the portion size—especially for those who have high blood pressure or are sensitive to salt. If one serving has 200 mg of sodium and your bag contains four servings, devouring the whole thing while binge-watching Netflix means you already consumed 800 mg of sodium when the recommended daily value is less than 2,300 mg."
Because sifting through the many veggie chip options can be tough, here are some of the most popular brands ranked by health so you can decide which belong in your snack drawer and which should stay on the shelf.
A definitive ranking of the most popular veggie chips
What Bonnie thinks: "These chips seem to have the right mix of nutrients: fiber and protein with not too much sugar, fat, sodium, or calories. The additional of apple could provide a sweet taste to accompany the other savory flavors."
- Ingredients: carrot, kale, flax seed, buckwheat groats, orange juice, onion, apple, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, Himalayan sea salt, sesame seed
- Nutrition stats (per 1 oz serving): 80 calories, 3.5 grams fat, 120 mg sodium, 3 grams fiber, 2 grams sugar (none added), 3 grams protein
What Bonnie thinks: "These sound awesome. It’s great when an ingredient list highlights veggies first, and most chips don't has this little sodium. Since many dips contain more sodium than you might expect, that's particularly helpful—these chips provide a perfect pairing. They still do contain 9 grams of fat per serving, though, so it’s not exactly like eating the veggie itself."
- Ingredients: blend of sweet potatoes and beets, expeller pressed canola oil and/or safflower oil and/or sunflower oil
- Nutrition stats (per 1 oz serving): 150 calories, 9 grams fat, 15 mg sodium, 3 grams fiber, 5 grams sugar (no added), 2 grams protein
What Bonnie thinks: "The protein content is impressive in these chips at 5 grams per serving. They also have a pretty well-rounded profile with veggies appearing high up on the ingredient list."
- Ingredients: kale, sunflower seeds, tahini (ground sesame seeds), onion, red bell pepper, apple cider vinegar, cane sugar, carrot, sea salt, garlic, lemon juice, chipotle powder
- Nutrition stats (per 1 oz serving): 130 calories, 9 grams fat, 240 mg sodium, 3 grams fiber, 2 grams sugar (1 gram added), 5 grams protein
What Bonnie thinks: "The ingredient list is contains only ingredients you can recognize. The fiber content is also impressive, weighing in at 8 grams per serving. There doesn’t seem to be any added sugar, however 15 grams of sugar—which comes naturally from the beets—may be higher than other similar products."
- Ingredients: beets, sea salt
- Nutrition stats per bag (40 grams): 140 calories, 0 grams fat, 260 mg sodium, 8 grams fiber, 15 grams sugar (none added), 4 grams protein
What Bonnie thinks: "This ingredients list includes only carrots and sea salt included, but weighing in at 420 mg sodium per serving is pretty hefty considering that we’re supposed to be shooting for around 2,300 mg of sodium for the entire day."
- Ingredients: carrots, sea salt
- Nutrition stats per bag (40 grams): 140 calories, 0 grams fat, 420 mg sodium, 7 grams fiber, 10 grams sugar (none added), 2 grams protein
What Bonnie thinks: "I like that the sodium is low and that whole grains appear first on the ingredient list in these chips, but the actual veggies are pretty far down on the list. This product has zero grams of sugar, but for those counting carbs, you’ll still need to pay attention to portion sizes."
- Ingredients: Whole grain corn masa flour, sunflower, safflower and/or canola oil, spinach, kale, sea salt
- Nutrition stats (per 1 oz serving): 140 calories, 7 grams fat, 70 mg sodium, 2 grams fiber, 0 grams sugar, 2 grams protein
What Bonnie thinks: "Rice seems to take precedence over veggies in these chips. The sodium and sugar levels are reasonable, but if you’re looking for a veggie chip, you may want to choose one where veggies appear first on the label."
- Ingredients: brown rice, oil blend (sunflower oil, safflower oil and/or red palm olein), sprouted brown rice, wasabi seasoning (cane sugar, rice flour, sea salt, spinach powder, mustard oil, ground mustard), leafy greens blend (kale, spinach powder, water), white rice, black sesame seeds, white sesame seeds, red quinoa seeds, millet flour, quinoa flour, amaranth flour
- Nutrition stats (per 1 oz serving): 150 calories, 8 grams fat, 150 mg sodium, 2 grams fiber, 1 gram sugar, 2 grams protein
What Bonnie thinks: "Although the ingredient list is longer than others, there’s a medley of dehydrated veggies mentioned. Unfortunately, we can't be certain about what's exactly in the 'proprietary blend.' I prefer chips that list veggies as first ingredients."
- Ingredients: dehydrated potato, potato starch, high oleic expeller pressed sunflower oil or safflower oil, salt, dehydrated vegetables (tomato, green pepper, parsley, spinach, paprika, garlic, celery), natural garlic flavor, nutrients from a proprietary blend of vegetables (spinach, broccoli, carrot, tomato, beet, shiitake mushroom), sea salt
- Nutrition stats (per 1 oz serving): 140 calories, 8 grams fat, 290 mg sodium, 1 gram fiber, 0 grams sugar, 1 gram protein
What Bonnie thinks: "There's not much fiber or protein in these chips. Plus with potatoes as the first ingredient, this is more of a regular potato chip than a veggie chip, although it could be an advantage for those who prefer a familiar flavor."
- Ingredients: potato flour (potato flakes, potato starch), sunflower and/or safflower seed oil, tomato puree, spinach powder, salt, turmeric, beet powder
- Nutrition stats (per 1 oz serving): 130 calories, 7 grams fat, 250 mg sodium, <1 gram fiber, 1 gram sugar (no added), 1 gram protein
Make your favorite junk foods healthy with these nutritious alternatives. You can also take care of your late-night cravings for fast food with these better-for-you knockoffs.
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