Are Veggie Chips Healthy?

March 19, 2013   24 Comments

Snack Girl gets asked about food like "veggie chips" a lot. And, I never want to answer the e-mails.

Veggie Chips Healthy

Why? Well, I don't want to make anyone feel bad about falling for the marketing on the front of the bag of these things. "Hey, look ma, Vegetable Medley - Potato, Tomato, and Spinach."

Yeah, I know they look good on the outside of the package and the concept is great. Who wouldn't want a veggie stick or chip that would be good for you and taste like potato chips?

Here is what they look like outside of the bag:

This is your first hint that maybe these aren't truly vegetables. You know those deep colors of spinach and tomatoes? Ahem....not present. No, these aren't really made of true tomato and spinach.

The deal is that these are just glorified potato chips, and not better for you than baked potato chips. The tomato puree and spinach powder isn't giving you any flavor or nutrients. The potato flour does make them taste like what they really are:

Lower fat potato chips!

I find it sad that food manufacturers would try to trick us into thinking we are eating tomatoes and spinach when we are just eating the cheaper potatoes. I don't advocate eating these unless you really like them. Just eat them as a treat and forget about any healthfulness they don't possess.

There are brands of vegetable chips that are the vegetable just made into a chip with salt and oil added. I consider these treats as well because they are processed and bagged instead of fresh.

Have you fallen for veggie chips? Do you know of any truly healthy chip?

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First 20 Comments: ( See all 24 )

I do know people who thought they were doing good by eating these. A potato chip is a potato chip no matter how you dress it up.

I completely agree with Sue and SG -- and it's almost sad watching the people who do consume these products and think they're making a better choice than potato chips.

I like veggie chips but knew they weren't healthy. When I am craving a chip I prefer the veggie chips because they don't have the grease residue as normal chips. I also use them to scoop tuna fish on rather then crackers.

I know healthy crackers. I have switched to them because chips involve a lot of oil and salt. There are many companies now that cook via dehydration at a low temperature; these are called Raw because the low temp. preserves enzymes and nutrients lost at higher temps. Brad's is a company in PA that distributes across the US with sweet potato crackers and leafy kale in various flavors. They qualify as vegan, GFCF, whole foods. They aren't cheap because these kinds of foods are REAL food. They call some products chips, but they are like crackers. I recommend people try health food items called raw until you find some you like. If you normally eat a lot of processed foods you will not prefer these healthy snacks, but I changed my diet last summer and these snacks help me stay happy.

I make my own crackers out of Almond flour and add my own herbs according to what I feel like having. They are really easy to make. The brand Mary's Gone Crackers is also very good.

I'm not a big veggie chip person, but I do like the bean tortilla chips, but that's kind of a different subject. :) Thanks for sharing, it's good to know!

I eat these when I crave chips. Not many though. Usually 1/2 or 1 serving at a time. And a bag can last for weeks. But thank you for the information, it's good. NIOSHA - I like your idea about the tuna. Thanks.

I used to eat veggie chips often...though they were low calorie, they weren't tasty enough to make me want to replace full fat potato chips.

Lately, I've been eating Veggie Flaxseed tortilla chips from Trader Joe's. However, I don't have many...7 chips (the serving size) have 6g of fat - ridiculous.

Sue, could you share your recipe for the almond flour crackers you make? I'm a chip-aholic and am always looking for healthier alternatives! TIA

Kale chips! Homemade, or get them from a creative farmer's market vendor. Kale chips are dried overnight in the oven or on a dehydrator until they are light, crispy, melt-in-your-mouth little bundles of flavor. They might have a spritz of oil added, and/or maybe a tiny bit of salt or - even better - garlic powder, paprika, pepper, whatever powdery spice comes to mind.

When I was at my heaviest (300 lbs) I would eat an entire 8 oz brick of cream cheese with a bag of potato chips. Now, 140 lbs lighter, if I am really craving it, I will eat a small bag of Terra sweet potato (no salt added) chips with a small (100 calorie) container of greek satisfies the chip/dip craving!

Jineen - I'm at work so I don't have it on me but if you Google Elana's Pantry the recipe is on her website. I have made a few things that I love.

You can dehydrate many vegetables in an oven or a dehydrator; those are real veggies "chips." My favorite is kale chips, but carrot chips are good, too!

If using oven to dehydrate, what temperature and how long (electric oven)?

Julie--I am awed by your weight loss and love your using Greek yogurt for chip dip! You just inspired me!

Sue, found the recipe! Thanks, they look delish!!

I like to use the lowest setting on the oven - usually 170F or 180F. Pop them in before bed, and take them out when you wake up. Usually 8 hours will do the trick with kale - it's such a nice thin leaf with a lot of surface area. Carrot sounds good! Cristina, when you make carrot chips how thinly do you slice them?

The only way to get a real veggie chip is make them yourself. It is so easy! Either thinly slice veggies and bake them (sweet potatoes are amazing) or dehydrate them (bake at the very lowest your oven will go and prop oven open just a bit to let air circulate. Let em bake for a long time (maybe 8 hours or more) until moisture gone. Works great for fruit too!

Why do tomato puree and spinach powder carry no nutrients? I'm interested in this because our elementary school Wellness Team is about to do a program on how processed foods have less nutrients.

OMG, my electricity bill will go through the roof if I have to use my oven for 8 hr or more. But for the sake of healthy chips, I might actually try it. Is that why baked chips are always SOOOO expensive? What other vegetables are good for baking besides kale (don't see them at the markets where I live in SE Asia). And does baking vegetables for so many hours lead to loss of nutrients?

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