Are Parsnip Chips Healthier than Potato Chips?!


James picked these up from the grocery store the other day, and I was really excited to try them.  They were really tasty; sweet and salty with lots of crunch!  Now, these chips get a big thumbs up from me overall as a tasty treat, however, I was a little surprised when I looked at the nutrition label.  My thoughts were, as many people’s might be, “Hey, parsnips seems healthy, these must be better for you than potato chips…?”  But lets check the evidence:

On the left is the Hardbite Parsnip Chips nutrition label, compared to the Hardbite Rock Salt and Vinegar Chips.  *I also want to add that I think Hardbite is a really great brand.  They’re a Canadian Company from the West Coast.  They’re non-GMO, they use non-hydrogenated oils, and use ingredients you can actually pronounce.  And most importantly, their chips are delicious!  Now on with the show!

Of course, no one is buying a bag of chips and assuming it’s a healthy snack right?  But I must say, I did not expect potatoes to win over parsnips, but it does in almost every category!  The nutrition labels are both based on a serving of 40 g (20 chips).

Parsnips: 170 calories vs. Potatoes: 140 calories

Parsnips: 18 g fat (28% daily intake) vs. Potatoes: 8 g fat (12%) daily intake

Parsnips: 150 mg sodium (6% daily intake) vs. Potatoes: 216 mg sodium (9% daily intake) ***This might have something to do with the fact that the flavour of chips is Rock Salt and Vinegar…

Parsnips: 4 g Carbs (1% daily intake) vs. Potatoes: 17 g Carbs (6%)

Parsnips: 0.2 g Protein vs. Potatoes: 2 g Protein

Parsnips: 6% Vitamin C vs. Potatoes: 15% Vitamin C

Looks like Potatoes win this one:  fewer calories, less fat, more protein and more vitamin C.  I was most surprised that the parsnip chips have so much more fat than the potato chips.  I wonder why that is?  Perhaps they have to use more oil to get them crispy?  I’m not sure, but that category caught me off guard, and also the vitamin C.  But then I remembered years ago I heard that one potato has more vitamin C than an orange (might not be true) but indeed they are known for their copious amounts of vitamin C.

Moral of the story:  Don’t assume that just because it’s a product “looks” healthier (uses a different vegetable, or lots of green packaging) that it actually is healthier.  As consumers we should be aware of greenwashing on packaged foods, be diligent about checking nutrition labels, compare it to it’s conventional counterpart, then determine whether or not it is indeed healthier.

That said, these Parsnip chips are delicious! And like I said earlier, generally you’re not buying chips for their nutritional value, so I say eat the Parsnip Chips and enjoy them!  They are super tasty, have a great crunch, satisfy that sweet and salty craving.  Just don’t be under the illusion that they’re a “healthy” alternative to good ol’ potato chips.

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