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As much as we relish tearing into a fresh bag of potato chips, we realize that it can’t be done every day. (Consider this: A single serving of plain Lays potato chips—about 15 chips—clocks in at approximately 160 calories, 10 grams fat, 16 grams carbs and 170 milligrams sodium. But we never eat just 15 chips.) But we need our crunchy-salty snack fix. So when we’re not munching on a handful of salt and vinegar spuds, we’re stocking our pantry with these seven healthy alternatives to chips. Oh, and don’t worry, they’re way more exciting than baby carrots.
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7 Healthy Alternatives to Chips
1. Orville Redenbacher’s Naturals Simply Salted Popcorn
Nutrition per serving (4.5 cups popped): 170 calories, 11 grams fat, 18 grams carbs, 2 grams protein, 3 grams fiber, 440 milligrams sodium
Look, we know popcorn and chips aren’t really the same thing. But the former offers the same satisfying crisp-salty vibes, and it’s so much healthier. A whopping 4.5-cup serving of Orville Redenbacher’s Naturals Simply Salted Popcorn has just 170 calories. (Take that, 15 chips.) To make it even healthier, pop it with an air popper.
2. Off the Eaten Path Veggie Crisps
Nutrition per serving (1 package): 160 calories, 6 grams fat, 24 grams carbs, 4 grams protein, 4 grams fiber, 170 milligrams sodium
Made of rice flour, dried peas and dried black beans, these Off the Eaten Path Veggie Crisps are like an entire meal in a chip. They’re light, crisp and impressively flavorful (no Styrofoam chips here).
3. Terra Original Mixed Vegetable Chips
Nutrition per serving (1 ounce): 150 calories, 9 grams fat, 16 grams carbs, 1 gram protein, 3 grams fiber, 110 milligrams sodium
Terra Mixed Vegetable Chips have all the appealing texture of a regular potato chip, but more fiber and much less sodium. They’re lightly sweet, too, thanks to a blend of sweet potato, taro, yuca, parsnip and batata.
4. Dang Thai Rice Chips
Nutrition per serving (1 ounce): 150 calories, 7 grams fat, 21 grams carbs, 1 gram protein, 0 grams fiber, 150 milligrams sodium
According to the brand, Dang Thai Rice Chips contain 30 percent less fat than regular potato chips. They’re a little savory, a little sweet and made of all ingredients we can pronounce (sticky rice and coconut milk, yum).
5. NADI Happy Hearts Dried Granny Apple Chips
Nutrition per serving (1 ounce): 100 calories, 0 grams fat, 24 grams carbs, 0 grams protein, 4 grams fiber, 0 milligrams sodium
Some apple chips contain corn syrup and oil; not these. The NADI Happy Hearts Apple Chips are dried instead of fried and have no added sugar. They’re a little tart and not too sweet, just the way we like ’em.
6. Rhythm Organic Kale Chips
Nutrition per serving (1 ounce): 130 calories, 10 grams fat, 7 grams carbs, 5 grams protein, 3 grams fiber, 240 milligrams sodium
Rhytm Organic Kale Chips have 25 percent of your daily vitamin A and a whopping 110 percent of vitamin K, and they’re low carb to boot. Plus, the protein and fiber will keep you feeling full way longer than a tater. They taste like kale with a tahini-cider dressing—yum.
7. Baked Lays
Nutrition per serving (28 grams or 15 chips): 140 calories, 7 grams fat, 18 grams carbs, 2 grams protein, 2 grams fiber, 160 milligrams sodium
Look, sometimes you just want a potato chip. And while Baked Lays are neither an exact substitute for the real thing (they’re made from dehydrated potatoes) nor the healthiest option on this list, they’re still lower in fat than a regular chip…and they taste like a Pringle, in a good way.
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell
How to Make Homemade Healthy “Chips”
At the end of the day, the most nutritious substitute for potato chips is a homemade veggie “chip.” Lucky for you, they’re super easy to make and can be customized as you please.
- Choose your veggie (or fruit). If you can roast it, you can most likely make it into a chip. Our favorite veggies to chip-ifiy include sweet potatoes, zucchini, kale and apples.
- Prepare the veggie. Wash the veggie of choice, then slice it into very thin rounds. A mandoline is the easiest tool for the job, but if you have a very sharp kitchen knife, that will work too. Toss them in a drizzle of olive oil and season with kosher salt.
- Heat the oven. Preheat the oven to 250°F and line a few baking sheets with parchment paper. Spread the vegetable slices into a single layer on the baking sheets.
- Bake. Transfer the baking sheets to the oven and bake until the veggie chips are dry and crisp but not burnt. The time will depend on what vegetable you choose, but a good rule of thumb is to set a timer for 30 minutes and check on it regularly.
Plus, The 3 Least Healthy Chip and Snack Options
Some culprits are worse than others.
- Crunchy Flamin’ Hot Cheetos: 170 calories, 11 grams fat (1.5 grams saturated fat), 15 grams carbs, 1 gram protein, 1 gram fiber, 250 milligrams sodium (per 21 pieces)
- Lays Barbecue Flavored Chips: 150 calories, 19 grams fat (1.5 grams saturated fat), 16 grams carbs, 2 grams protein, 1 gram fiber, 150 milligrams sodium (per 15 chips)
- Kettle Brand Krinkle Cut Spicy Queso Potato Chips: 140 calories, 8 grams fat (0.5 grams saturated fat), 3 g carbs, 2 g protein, 2 grams fiber, 150 milligrams sodium (per nine chips)
RELATED: 30 Easy Snacks to Make at Home (That Aren’t Cheese and Crackers for the Millionth Time)
- Kale Chips. We're not going to argue that kale chips are an exact replica of the treasured potato chip. ...
- Mixed Nuts. ...
- Homemade Sweet Potato Chips. ...
- Carrot Slices. ...
- Air-Popped Popcorn. ...
- Cucumber Slices.
- Potato Chips.
- Kale Chips.
- Apple Chips.
- Tortilla Chips.
- Sweet Potato Crisps.
- Zucchini Chips.
- 1- Zucchini Chips in the Microwave or Oven.
- 2- Sweet Potato Chips.
- 3- Baked Beet Chips.
- 4- Crispy Kale Chips.
- 5- Baked Apple Chips.
- 6- Pear Chips.
- 7- Parmesan Cheese Crisps Laced with Veggies.
- 8- Carrot Fries.
- Homemade popcorn. Popcorn may possibly be one of the easiest and most affordable snacks. ...
- Glorified trail mix. Nuts, seeds, chocolate chunks, dried fruit – what's not to love? ...
- Rice cakes with peanut butter. ...
- Crispy Chickpeas. ...
- Sweet Potato chips. ...
- Energy balls. ...
- Ants on a log.
When it comes to popcorn and chips, popcorn is the healthier snack option. Popcorn is lower in calories and fat, but it has a higher fiber content so it is more filling than chips. Air-popped, lightly seasoned popcorn is the healthiest type of popcorn for snack food.
Doritos Nacho Cheese Flavored Chips
Doritos' relatively large serving of saturated fat and total fat does nothing for your diet, and only prove to add excess nutritional waste to your day. Steer clear of these classic diet-killers at all cost.
Boil the chips in lightly salted water for 4 minutes, then drain well in a colander. When cool enough to handle, tip them onto a baking tray and drizzle over the oil. Mix to coat the chips in the oil, then arrange them in a single layer and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes.
- Toffee, Jolly Ranchers, Starlight peppermints.
- Corn Nuts!
- Wasabi peas, the hard edges of melba toast, Grape Nuts cereal, thick hard pretzels.
- Carrots, celery, bell peppers.
- Toasted whole almonds, Stacy's pita chips.
- Sugar snap peas.
- Crackers and breadsticks.
- Popcorn. “A few cups of air-popped or low-fat popcorn is a healthy way to satisfy that crunch craving. ...
- Roasted chickpeas. ...
- Almonds and pumpkin seeds. ...
- Cereal. ...
- Trail mix. ...
- Frozen grapes. ...
- Crudités. ...
- Baked pita or tortilla chips.