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Healthy Balance

Healthy Ways to Satisfy Chip Cravings

plate of nachos with guacamole, sour cream, diced tomatoes, and cilantro
You don’t have to say goodbye to chips for good. Just choose healthier options to make this snack work with your diet.

Eating healthy but struggle with chip cravings? If you’re watching your salt, carbs and fat intake, these foods can be a diet disaster.

The good news is that you don’t need to completely eliminate chips and dips from a healthy diet plan. Just choose healthier options – and of course, eat in moderation.

Healthier Chips

A 1-ounce serving of regular corn tortilla chips – only 7 to 10 chips – contains 140 calories and 7 grams of fat. The amount of sodium per serving can vary widely from a low of 50 milligrams to as much as 290 milligrams.

Here’s some ways to make chip eating healthier:

  • Choose high-fiber Chips– Fiber improves GI regularity and lowers your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Buy tortilla chips made from wheat bran, whole wheat, black beans, steel cut oats or flaxseed, which have 2 to 3 grams of fiber.
  • Select low-sodium varieties – The American Diabetes Association recommends that you limit sodium intake to 2,300 grams per day to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and lower your blood pressure. A 1-ounce serving of tortilla chips should contain about 90 to 120 milligrams of sodium.
  • Be wary of baked and reduced-fat products – These options often contain more salt and carbs than regular chips to improve their taste. Look for options that limit carbs to 18 grams per ounce.
  • Dip with veggies – Skip the tortilla chips and reach for heart-healthy fresh veggies like cauliflower, carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes and bell peppers to keep calories, salt and carbs in check. Crunchy veggies still allow you to enjoy your favorite dips and are easy-to-eat finger foods.

Want more healthy food options?

Follow UVA’s Healthy Balance Blog for more healthy recipes.

Healthy Dips

What you put on your chip can make as much a difference in calorie count, sodium and fat as the type of chip you eat.

Consider these dip choices:

  • Salsa – When it comes to dips, salsa is usually your healthiest option. Most varieties have only 10 calories and less than 2 – 3 grams of carbs per serving.
  • Guacamole – Made from avocados, guacamole contains healthy fats, as well as vitamins and minerals. However, don’t eat too much the calories in this creamy spread can add up quickly. A quarter cup of guacamole contains about 90 calories and over 8 grams of fat.
  • Bean dips – Beans are a good source of fiber. Just be aware that many jarred varieties are loaded with sodium, so it’s best to make your own.

Do you have a favorite chip or dip alternative? Show us in the comments below.

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