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3 Healthy Replacements for Tortilla Chips

Nov 23, 2010

A type of snack food made out of corn tortillas, tortilla chips are usually sliced into wedges and then fried before being eaten. They are usually made out of water, corn, salt and vegetable oil. An interesting fact about tortilla chips is that they are widely considered a kind of Mexican food, yet their origin is purely American. They were mass-produced for the first time only as recently as the 1940s in Los Angeles. Health-wise, they are very bad for you, with high concentrations of sodium, carbs and calories being particularly worrisome. If you are tired of the health disadvantages every time you pop them into your mouth, consider these three healthy replacements for tortilla chips.

1. Matzo

You may not be familiar with or like matzo if you're not Jewish, but matzo is a healthier replacement for tortilla chips. Its consistency and texture is sort of similar, yet you don't have the same problems with sodium and calories to the extent that they are present in tortilla chips. For a serving size of 28 grams, matzo only contains 111 calories versus the 138 calories in tortilla chips. While that may not seem all that great, just imagine how many more calories you'll eat if you repetitively eat tortilla chips. The greatest health benefit to matzo over tortilla chips is that you only get 1 milligram of sodium, while tortilla chips hit you with 119 milligrams. Matzo is traditionally eaten during the Jewish holiday of Passover, when eating bread is not allowed.

2. Unsalted Crackers

Crackers can be a healthier replacement for tortilla chips, provided that they are of the unsalted variety and not the regular kind. Unsalted crackers are better for you than tortilla chips in the all-important areas of sodium, carbs and calories. Eating seven crackers—which is roughly the same as a 28-gram helping of tortilla chips—will net you only 90 calories, 110 milligrams of sodium and 15 grams of carbs. This is in contrast to the 138 calories, 119 milligrams of sodium and 19 grams of carbs in a 28-gram serving of tortilla chips. While unsalted crackers may not be the perfect accompaniment to salsa, they beat all the unhealthy factors that come with tortilla chips.

3. Unsalted Peanuts

Snack foods that are unsalted are always going to be better for you than the regular versions of the same items. It's no surprise, then, that unsalted peanuts have only 2 milligrams of sodium and just 6 grams of carbs in a 28-gram serving, while the same amount of tortilla chips already comes with 119 milligrams of sodium and 19 grams of carbs. It may not be as tasty to snack on unsalted peanuts, but remember that you won't be subjecting your body to all the sodium and carbs.

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