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If you’re trying to sneak more vegetables into your—or your kid’s—diet, swapping regular potato chips for veggie chips or sticks may seem like a healthy substitution. But nutrition experts say some of these ostensibly good-for-you snacks are just junk food in disguise.
“Those veggie sticks are super popular at my six-year-old’s kindergarten, but they’re really no better than potato chips,” says Liz Weinandy, a staff dietitian at the Ohio State University Medical Center. “They have very small amounts of spinach or tomato paste, but they’re still a deep-fried food, and they’re not going to contribute to your daily vegetable intake in a way that supports overall health.”
Brands like Terra produce varieties of chip made with parsnips, sweet potatoes, and other non-white-potato vegetables. “I still would not make the argument that this is a healthy food,” says Dana Hunnes, a dietitian and adjunct assistant professor at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. “The real healthfulness would come from eating the actual vegetable or root in a more natural form, such as boiling, sautéing, or baking.”