Tuesday 26 February, 2013

Snack Dat: ISO Healthy Habits


Plain ol’ potato chips really aren’t that bad for you (especially if you can get them fairly freshly made with minimum of preservatives and moderate salt). In fact, within the spectrum of a balanced diet, they have a reasonable protein/carb/fat ratio, some C and other vitamins, as well as iron, and even a bit of fiber--enough that they shouldn't even be labeled junk food.

Still, folks keep on making ‘alternative’ snack foods with an eye on fulfilling the need to munch for those with various diet limitations…or good sense.*

The latest I’ve discovered are called Plentils crunchy lentil chips, made by Illinois’ Enjoy Life Foods. Plentils proudly announce on the bag that they're:

• Dairy Free

• Gluten Free (certified)

• Free of the 8 common allergens (wheat, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, soy, fish, shellfish... "also made without casein, sesame and sulfites")

• 40% less fat than the leading potato chip


Looking like dip-size Fritos, Plentils actually taste closer to Munchos in terms of that airy crunch pseudo-chiccharones kind of effect. In the realm of snack food flavoring, the dill sour cream flavor is fairly light, nice and grown-uppy. Margherita pizza flavor tastes really nothing like that (maybe it tastes like a kid version of that) but what would you expect? (Oh, you really think “chicken and waffles” Lays are going to taste like… smh).

According to the label, Plentils' main ingredient are in fact lentil powder, followed by potato starch, and the most contraversial ingredient is maltodextrin (unless something else is hiding under the rubric of ‘natural flavors’). While they don't have as many vitamins as natural potato chips (really), they do have some Iron, protein, and only a moderate level of sodium, which is nice. The main oil used is safflower--no cholesterol, no trans-fat.


Still, within the Kingdom of Snackage, sweet potato chips, loaded--and I mean, loaded--with Vitamin A as well as trace amounts of others, remain the healthiest crunch (make sure though that they are made from the real thing—I’ve actually seen some ‘fake’ sweet potato chips lately. Evil bastards!). Take a look at those green labeled "veggie chips" and you may be surprised to see that you might as well be eating Cheetos.

Look for a bag of Dill Sour Cream Plentils instead. Nice alternative.

*Yes potato chips, like any fried tuber, do contain Acrylimide, but apparently the jury is still out on how much of that is bad and how much benign. Stay safe and don’t eat a freakin’ jumbo bag of ruffles every day.

More about Plentils