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Are veggie chips or straws healthier than potato chips?

Dana Hunnes, adjunct assistant professor of community health sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, was quoted in a TIME article about the nutritional value of potato chips versus ‘veggie’ chips.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

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.”

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