A (healthier) snack…

A sort of healthy snack

A sort of healthy snack

OK so I’ve made it pretty clear that I’m trying to be healthy and trying to lose a little weight, exercise, etc… Part of that is living an overall healthy lifestyle and avoiding a lot of junky foods.

This is also going to be a bit of a review on a product, something I’ll probably try to do from time to time.

I’ve not really ever been a huge fan of most junk foods anyway, so that helps. But, sometimes you just like something crunchy and a little salty. So what’s a guy to do, right?

Mostly pretzels.

But unfortunately I’m not a huge fan of baked, crunchy pretzels. I’m not sure why, maybe just because to me they’ve always been kind of bland or I ate them too much growing up.

So I’ve been snacking on pretzels a lot lately whenever I’ve had a craving for something crunchy and salty. (Usually just about a half dozen for a little 100 calorie snack.)

This morning though I decided I didn’t want pretzels. So I sought out something else.

But, the local convenience store didn’t have much to choose from. A lot of flavored potato chips (300+ calories per bag) your standard tortilla cheesy or ranch type chips. I couldn’t find the baked brand of chips I might typically reach for in this situation.

I’m actually going to pause here for a second to talk about those. Baked potato chips. Does anyone else find these absolutely repugnant? They’re like mashed potatoes that have been squeezed out of a tube in a particular shape and then baked. They don’t taste right do they?

Anyway, what I did find at first made me skeptical because of the all too wholesome appearance of the bag.  I know all too well how marketing gimmicks are used to try and fool people into thinking they’re getting something that’s better for them than it actually is.

Examples: Green coloring used on a package… clearly this is all natural and healthy; Rustic browns… it’s cooked in an old fashioned way, it must be healthier for me too; thin, script fonts… this is a diet food because it implies it will make me skinny like that font, etc…

If you don’t believe me, next time you open your cupboard or pantry or go to the store, look at the labels, think about the color palette and even the font choice.

So what did I see? The same thing that’s at the top of this post — Utz, “Natural” Gourmet Medley Kettle Cooked Potato Chips.

Alright, so let me break down this packaging for you: Brown sides made to look like burlap — it’s old fashioned in its preparation; purple, since ancient times purple has been a symbolic color of regality, royalty and thus something of exquisite refinement, this truly is ‘gourmet;’ the word natural has imperfections shining through on the word.. clearly the product is all natural; the font used for Kettle Cooked is one to evoke a ‘rustic’ area, truly these must be cooked by hand with someone using some sort of net to scoop the potato chips from a vat of oil.

You won’t fool me clever marketing people!!! I see through this!!!

But checking the back of the packaging I was surprised at the rather short list of ingredients including whole potatoes (russet, sweet and blue), cooked in 100% expeller pressed sunflower seed oil, sea salt and no preservatives.

That’s it.

No other ingredients.

There are 260 Calories per serving (one small bag, 1.75 oz by volume) 140 of those calories coming from fat. So maybe that part’s not so great, but , look… no chemical preservatives, no weird ingredients you can’t pronounce.

Alright. So how do they taste?

The light russets are good, the sweet potatoes are great as are the blues. The dark russets were hard to find in my bag, so overall it doesn’t look like the picture from the front of the bag was poured into the bag. In fact the shape of the chips wasn’t much like that “perfectly round sliced” potato chip you imagine either.

Would I buy them again…

Sure… eventually. Remember, this is a sometimes food.

Alright, final verdict: (all rankings out of 5 *)

Taste: ****

I like the dark russet chips that utz makes and would have liked a few more of those. Also I wouldn’t have minded seeing a few more of either the sweet potato or blue potato. I feel like there weren’t very many of those in the bag.

Value: *** 1/2

For the taste of the chips, 99 cents was well worth it. Definitely makes buying them again worth it. The only downside being…

Health factor: **

There are way healthier snacks out there or snacks that are more filling for fewer calories (apples have crunch, but aren’t salty and average 150 or so calories, six medium sized crunchy pretzels are about 100 calories, more filling and less damaging health wise.) I’m definitely going to end up working these off… later today probably, but it was a nice change up. Definitely a nice alternative to more unhealthy potato chips (Lay’s, Doritos, Ruffles, etc…)

Overall: ***

They taste good, they’re cheap, but is as so often the case with such things, there is a downside… 140 of 260 total calories coming from fat… that’s more than half, which hardly makes these chips a “health” food, but they are “healthier” (by a modicum) from similarly sized and priced other chips.

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