Jackie London, nutrition director for Good Housekeeping magazine, is stopping by TODAY to share their top potato chip picks. She runs down the do's and don'ts of selecting the healthiest, most satisfying and delicious crispy snacks and shares their top choices to satisfy all your crunchy cravings.
Whether they're crispy, crunchy, salty or spicy, at Good Housekeeping, we're nuts about snacks! Since there's no shortage of chip options at the grocery store, it can often be difficult to tell which ones are delicious, which are nutritious and which ones are both! That's why we've scoured the shelves to test, taste and recommend delicious chips that meet our high-bar for goodness.
All of our top nutrition lab tried-and-tasted chips are ones that satisfy cravings for that old fashioned potato-chip flavor and crunch, use quality, simple ingredients and are hearty enough to snack on without worry that you'll totally "blow-it" on calories (they're just indulgent enough to crush cravings in a 1 ounce serving!). Here are our top picks, tips on what to look for when shopping the snack aisle and how to avoid lame chip claims that can be confusing.
Per serving, chips should hover around 200 calories, have less than 2g saturated fat and 200mg sodium max! For versions with added sugar (even savory-sounding ones, like BBQ and ranch) cap it at 2g per 1 ounce serving. Remember, traditional potato chips should be made from just potatoes, vegetable oil and salt.
Best Classic Potato Chips
Better-for-you brands are not always the ones that boast "40%" or "50% less fat" on the label. These may be lower in total fat, but they can still have just as much heart unhealthy saturated fat as regular ones, making them slightly lower in calories (but not enough to make or break the nutritional quality of your whole day!). Another claim you can ignore is "cholesterol free." Potato chips made with veggie oil won't have any dietary cholesterol to begin with! Look for brands that say "kettle cooked" and/or "small batch" on the packaging. The frying process is done in smaller batches and at a lower temperature, which can help to maximize flavor-per-chip, and makes for a slightly more nutritious option that'll satisfy you with flavor-packed heartiness.
Deep River Snacks Kettle Cooked Potato Chips, $23.04 for twenty-four 2-ounce bags, Amazon
Lay's Kettle Cooked Lattice Cut Sea Salt Potato Chips, $14.99 for two 7-ounce bags, Amazon
Boulder Canyon Kettle Cooked Potato Chips, $18.99 for eight 2-ounce bags, Amazon
Cape Cod Sea Salt Potato Chips, $3.32 for one 8-ounce bag, Jet
Kettle Brand Kettle Cooked Sea Salt Potato Chips, $3.16 for one 8.5-ounce bag, Jet
Best Flavor Bombs
Look for chips that use real food ingredients. There are many synthetic ones that aren't actually food. What you should be wary of? Flavored chips that are significantly lowering in fat because they're "baked" instead of fried. While it may sound better for you, these can be filled with highly processed ingredients, including dried potato flour, starches, gums and emulsifying agents, and are often much higher in sodium (400mg vs. about 150mg) and are more likely to use added sugar to maximize flavor.
Some are more nutritious than others, but the bottom line is if you're looking to satisfy a chip craving, these may not make the cut (if they're not made with oil, there's no stick-to-your ribs fat to fill you up!). Choose baked if you like the flavor, not because they seem like the "healthier" option. It doesn't matter if you're eating a lower calorie snack if it's not satisfying enough to stop you from eating the whole bag, right?!
Cape Cod Kettle Cooked Potato Chips Infused Mediterranean, $11.95 for one 7.5-ounce bag, Jet
Deep River Snacks Kettle Cooked Mesquite BBQ Chips, $22.99 for twenty-four 2-ounce bags, Amazon
Whole Foods 365 Dill Pickle Chips, $2.99 for one 10-ounce bag, Amazon Prime Pantry
Kettle Brand Sriracha Potato Chips, $9.11 for three 8-ounce bags, Amazon
Kettle Brand Sour Cream and Onion, $3.79 for one 8.5-ounce bag, Amazon Prime Pantry
Terra Spiced Sweets Sweet Potato Chips, $32.46 for twelve 6-ounce bags, Amazon
Route 11 Dill Pickle, $13.50 for three 6-ounce bags, Amazon
Most Satisfying Snacks
Look for real, whole-food alternatives to potatoes when you're looking for a more nutritious chip. The ones that make for the most nourishing, nutrient-packed nosh are made from a bean, pea, chickpea or lentil-based flour which will provide plant-based protein and fiber to fill you up and keep you satisfied. These will also bring some antioxidant and mineral benefits, and can help you stay fuller, longer. Aim for at least 3g each of protein and fiber per serving.
Beanitos Baked White Bean Mac 'n' Cheese Crunch, $4.69 for one 11-ounce bag, Amazon
Beanfields Nacho Bean and Rice Chips, $24.47 for twenty-four 1.5-ounce bags, Jet
Simply Tostitos Black Bean Tortilla Chips, $3.37 for one 7.5-ounce bag, Jet
PopCorners Bean Crisps in Salsa Verde, $7.07 for one 6-ounce bag, Amazon
Harvest Snaps Bean Crisps in Wasabi Ranch, $26.50 for twelve 3.3-ounce bags, Amazon
Most Nutritious Noshes
Veggie-based products that are best for you are ones with real veggies or fruit as their first ingredient such as beets, jicama, kale, okra, carrots or fruit-based versions, like apple chips. Lots of chip companies will make claims about their veggie content by calling themselves "veggie chips" but these are often potato flour or starch based (they're completely fine for you, but why not eat a real chip if that's what you're craving to begin with?) Another pro tip is to be wary of chips made with fruit oils, like coconut or avocado. These oils are either the same or higher in saturated fat content than traditional chips made with vegetable oils.
Terra's Taro Chips, $6.99 for one 6-ounce bag, Target
JicaChips, $25.21 for eight 0.9-ounce bags, Amazon
Kettle Brand Uprooted Sweet Potato Chips, $37.30 for twelve 6-ounce bags, Jet
Hardbite Eat Your Parsnips Chips, $9.99 for one 5.2-ounce bag, Amazon
Best Chips for Dips
Your best bets when it comes to tortilla chips? Ones that have a 100% whole-grain as their first ingredient. Labels that speak to agricultural production standards, like USDA organic, ones with a health halo, like "natural," aren't necessarily indicators of nutritional quality. Be wary of allergen claims, too, like "gluten-free," unless you're allergic to or intolerant of a certain ingredient, the claim doesn't universally mean it's better for you. You'll also still want to look for snacks that are using higher-fiber flour alternatives and that have a legume, veggie or fruit as their first ingredient.
Late July Restaurant Style Sea Salt and Lime Tortilla Chips, $4.29 for one 11-ounce bag, Target
Late July Blue Corn Cantina Dippers, $10.09 for one 8-ounce bag, Amazon
Garden of Eatin' Blue Corn Tortilla Chips, $3.81 for one 8.1-ounce bag, Jet
Flamous Falafel Chips, $4.86 for one 8-ounce bag, Amazon Fresh
RW Garcia Black Bean and Garlic Chips, $55.41 for twelve 7-ounce bags, Amazon
Food Should Taste Good Olive Tortilla Chips, $2.75 for one 5.5-ounce bag, Amazon
The Real Coconut Original Coconut Flour Tortilla Chips, $10.99 for one 5.5-ounce bag, Amazon
Best for Dessert
Sweeter chips can help make for a delicious — and sometimes, nutritious — dessert too! Our top picks are ones that'll satisfy your sweet tooth and can double as delicious toppings on Greek yogurt or ice cream. If you're indulging, look for ones that have simple ingredients, or are available in a single-serving size that'll help you resist the urge to finish a whole big bag. Aim to keep sugar as low as possible, ideally less than 6g, and 200-250 calories a pop.
SkinnyPop Sweet Cinnamon Popcorn Puffs, $3.29 for one 4.2-ounce bag, Target
PopChips Peanut Butter & Chocolate Nutter Puffs, $57.51 for seventy-two 1-ounce bags, Amazon
Dang Gluten Free Toasted Coconut Chips, Lightly Salted, Unsweetened, $3.99 for one 3.17-ounce bag, Amazon
Kettle Corn PopCorners, $11.27 for two 5-ounce bags, Amazon