Veggie Chips: A Healthy Snack Alternative?

I’m a father of four. That means my kids are always clamoring for snacks. It also means my wife and I are forever on the hunt for good-for-you goodies.

So when I spotted a bag of “veggie chips” in the grocery store, I lunged for it quicker than you can say, “Pass the dip.”

I mean, “veggies” in the same title as “chips?” Who wouldn’t want something that tastes like a potato chip but is loaded with the nutritional goodness of a vegetable?

But before I took the promising-looking snack bag to the register, I took a look at the ingredients and nutrition label. And boy was I disappointed.

Veggies Vs. Potatoes, The Showdown

Some of these chips are made from real vegetables. But make no mistake, despite pictures of carrots, sweet potatoes and spinach on the label, these chips are far from a bag full of fresh vegetables.

Vegetables – the real ones – are chock full of vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytonutrients (plant chemicals that help keep you healthy).

The vegetables in veggie chips, on the other hand, are so thin and so processed that most of the vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients from the actual vegetable have vanished.

And dietary fiber… forget about it. You would get more fiber by eating the bag they come in!

Other veggie chips are made with such small traces of vegetables you’d hardly know they’re there in there. The main ingredients are corn flour, potato flour, potato starch, and tomato paste…. Hmm, does that sound like anything you’ve ever picked up at the Farmer’s Market?

But at least they won’t make you fat, right?

At the very least, I thought munching on these veggie chips would keep me a little leaner. Because they’re made with vegetables, surely they would have fewer calories and less fat than regular chips, right?

No, veggie chips won't make you leaner.

Wrong. I took a look at the nutrition label of one popular veggie chip and found it very disturbing. Get this: Just one serving has 150 calories, 9 grams of fat and 150 mg of sodium. Not much better than potato chips, which have 160 calories, 10 grams of fat, and 170 mg of sodium per serving. As far as protein goes, like their potato counterparts, the chips made with “veggies” are essentially devoid of this hunger-curbing fuel. Both also provide the same amount of carbs—15 to 20 grams per serving—without the fiber needed to prevent rapid absorption, which can spike your blood sugar.

And although some packaged veggie chips may use canola, sunflower, olive and other healthy oils rather than partially hydrogenated oil—with harmful trans fats—they still deliver empty calories with no nutritional value… and, just like with regular packaged potato chips, betcha can’t eat just one!

A Real Veggie Chip

I went home and had a pow wow with Melanie and we came up with some great from-scratch recipes that give us the crunch of a chip with the goodness of real veggies. The basics apply to most vegetables: wash and dry, slice and dice, toss with a spoonful of cooking oil (choose one with a higher smoke point such as a high-quality olive oil or canola oil) and seasonings (try paprika, cayenne pepper, lemon zest, garlic salt, onion powder, etc.), spread out on a baking sheet and bake until crisp.

You can enjoy these nutrient-dense options right out of the oven, or they’ll keep for a few days when stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

For some specific recipes, try these:

Baked Kale Chips

  • Wash and dry kale until very dry.
  • With kitchen shears, cut the leaves off the stem into bite size pieces.
  • Toss in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and a dash of salt.
  • Spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper in a single layer with curly side down.
  • Bake at 350 degrees until the edges are crispy (about 10-12 minutes).
  • Cool and enjoy.

Baked Sweet Potato Chips

  • Wash and dry sweet potato with skin.
  • With a mandolin slicer, slice into thin slices.
  • Toss in a bowl with a drizzle of canola oil and add a dash of salt and pepper, if desired.
  • Spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper in a single layer.
  • Bake at 400 degrees until lightly brown and crisp (about 10 minutes).
  • Cool and enjoy.

Carrot Strips

  • Wash and dry carrots.
  • With a vegetable peeler, peel thin strips.
  • Toss in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and add a dash of salt and pepper, if desired.
  • Spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper in a single layer.
  • Bake at 350 degrees until lightly brown and crisp (about 10 minutes).
  • Cool and enjoy.

The Verdict On Packaged Veggie Chips

Stay away! They’re empty calories. Period. Plus, no one eats just one serving so you’re setting off a sodium bomb in your body. Instead, try one or more of the recipes I’ve given here. And be sure to check back and let me know how you enjoyed your baked snacks!

Steve Sisskind, M.D.

Hi, I'm Dr. Steve Sisskind, Chief Medical Officer & Founder at RealDose Nutrition.

As a young physician, I struggled because my patients came to me with serious health issues, but I didn't have the right tools to help them. Medical school taught me how to put "band aids" on their symptoms with drugs and surgery, but not how to address the root causes of their problems.

Years later I discovered a better approach... based on the fundamental idea that the power of nutrition can transform your health and vitality. But there's a lot of confusion... What foods should I eat? Which supplements should I take? What does the science say?

I have dedicated my life to answering these questions... And I share this knowledge with you every day here at RealDose Nutrition.

I invite you to connect with me by joining my free private community. I've helped thousands of people and I know I can help you too!

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  1. Thanks for the recipes! It’s my understanding canola oil is very toxic though so I will try a different oil. Love your newsletter!

  2. I make the sweet potato chips regularly. My family love them!

  3. Can't wait to try your version of veggie chips made from real veggies!

    Can’t wait to try your version of veggie chips…sounds delish and healthy!

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