Popcorn and chips are both popular snack options. However, one is a lot healthier than the other and is a better snack option.
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.
Is popcorn healthy for you? Are chips healthy for you? What are some alternative snack options? Here is everything that you need to know about the healthiness of popcorn and chips.
Is Popcorn Healthy?
Popcorn can be a very healthy snack if it is cooked properly. Movie theatre popcorn is not a very healthy popcorn option because it is cooked in fatty oils and covered in lots of butter and salt. Popcorn that is drenched in seasoning is also not very healthy for you.
However, popcorn that is air-popped and lightly seasoned is a healthy snack option. Air-popped popcorn is made using only hot air with no additional fats added to it. Popcorn has a high fiber content, which means that it will fill people up more easily than other snack foods will, and it will do it with fewer calories!
Air-popped popcorn usually weighs in at about 31 calories per cup, which makes it a highly favored weight-loss food. There are other ways to make popcorn even more healthy, such as cooking it with coconut oil, Avacado oil, or other low-fat oils. Withholding salt and other seasonings from popcorn can also increase its healthiness.
Kettle corn is tasty, but it is a less healthy popcorn option. Kettlecorn is made with sugar instead of salt and provides a sweet, crunchy snack. However, the sugar added to the corn increases the calories and the likelihood of it causing weight gain.
Are Chips Healthy?
Unfortunately, one of the most popular snack foods, potato chips, is very unhealthy for you. A standard serving of chips averages around 149 calories with 9.5 grams of fat.
Not only are chips high in calories, but they contain a lot of salt and sodium that is bad for the human body in high quantities. They are also very processed and contain a chemical called acrylamide. This chemical increases one’s risk of cancer, so eating a lot of potato chips could potentially be very, very bad for you.
Furthermore, according to a study done by the New England Journal of Medicine, chip consumption was associated with the greatest weight gain more than any other food over the past 20 years. Therefore, chips are very unhealthy and not a good snack option.
However, chips cover a very broad category, and not all chips are terrible for snack foods. Here is a list of some of the healthier potato chip options:
Kettle Brand Olive Oil Baked Potato Chips: These chips are baked and seasoned with olive oil, causing them to have less fat and calories compared to most brands. These potato chips have about 120 calories and are low in sodium.
Barnana pink salt plantain chips: These chips are vegan and kosher. They are low in sodium and have a calorie count of around 150 for one serving.
Pringles Reduced Fat Original: Pringles are not the healthiest chip option, but their reduced-fat option provides a lower calorie count and lower sodium than the original chips, while still keeping that classic Pringles flavoring.
Lay’s Oven Baked Original Potato Chips: These potato chips provide a healthier alternative than the traditional fried Lays potato chips. These chips have about 120 calories per serving, but they have the same amount of carbs as the traditional Lays.
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Chips Vs. Popcorn
It is no surprise at this point that popcorn is a healthier snack option than chips based on caloric intake, sodium levels, and preservatives. However, that does not mean that you have to cut chips out of your diet completely. As mentioned above, many chips are lower in calories and present themselves as healthier, alternative snacks.
Also, chips every once in a while are not going to completely ruin your diet or make you automatically gain weight. As long as chips are eaten sparingly, they are okay to have as an occasional snack.
If you are just looking for a salty, crunchy snack, choosing popcorn instead of chips will be a better, healthier option for you.
What Are Other Healthy Snack Options?
Besides chips and popcorn, several alternative snack options can are both healthy and tasty. These snacks listed can stand as a replacement for potato chips, while still fulfilling that craving for crunchy foods.
Mixed Nuts: Nuts are a snack that is high in fiber, low in calories, and are super healthy. If you are looking for a savory snack, but do not want to consume a lot of processed food or high calories, then nuts are the perfect option. Nuts can have a variety of flavors added to them without decreasing their healthiness.
Dried Fruit: Dried fruit can be a healthier alternative to Potato chips, while still giving you that satisfying crunch. Dried fruit is highly nutritious and contains the same amount of fiber as fresh fruit.
Vegetable sticks: Vegetables such as carrots or celery are perfectly healthy foods that provide a satisfying crunch and can stand in as replacements for chips, or other unhealthy foods. These vegetable sticks can be dipped in hummus, ranch, or other dressing for a perfect, healthy snack.
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Rice Cakes: Rice cakes are another alternative snack option that is healthy, crunchy, and helps with weight loss. These rice cakes come in a variety of flavors and are a great snack to have on hand that does not have a whole lot of calories. One rice cake (unsalted) has 35 calories.
Trail Mix: There are many unhealthy trails mixes out there, so you have to be careful with this one. Trail mixes with nuts, dried fruits, and other high fiber foods are good for you, whereas trail mixes with candy and processed foods are bad and should be avoided if you are trying to lose weight.