Are Chicken Chips the Answer to Healthier Snacking?
Don't knock 'em until you try 'em.
As I was walking through the aisles of the Natural Food Expo West in Anaheim, California, I stumbled upon Chicken Chips and knew I couldn’t pass them up. The thin and crispy chips are made from “premium cuts of chicken” and claim to boast 7 grams of protein per serving. But are these protein-packed, meat-based chips worth giving a try? Here’s a closer look at the latest snack trend.
What Are Chicken Chips?
Jason Wright, founder and innovator at Wilde Chicken Chips, has always been a potato chip lover. But as he got older, he wanted more than just empty calories from his snack. Jerky and plant-based protein chips didn’t seem to fill the void, so Wright combined his love for jerky with potato chips and created this protein-based snack.
The line of Chicken Chips, which promises no potato, corn, processed proteins, gluten, grains, dairy or nuts in its products are offered in five flavors: Barbeque, Jalapeño, Sea Salt & Vinegar, Chicken & Waffles, Buffalo and the upcoming flavor, Pink Himalayan Salt.
OK, But Are They Healthy?
The chips are certified paleo, gluten-free, and each provides 7 grams of protein and 0 grams of sugar per serving. According to the site, the brand claims the chicken breast comes from, “natural free-range chickens raised on family farms.” They also claim the chickens are raised antibiotic- and hormone-free and are fed no animal by-products.
While the ingredients, which also include cassava root and coconut nectar, are impressive (Wright also claimed the Wilde Brand sources its chickens from the same suppliers as Whole Foods Market), there are some other concerns. One serving of the Sea Salt & Vinegar (about 15 chips) has 170 calories, 11 grams of total fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 280 milligrams of sodium and 10 grams of carbs. The artery-clogging saturated fat is on the higher side, providing 40 percent of the recommended daily amount.
Are They as Versatile as Other Chips?
Although they are delicious on their own (and a bit addictive, I might add), the chips also make a great companion to a variety of foods. The Buffalo Style chips pair wonderfully with ranch dressing, while maple syrup is a nice touch to the Chicken and Waffles flavor. I would even venture to suggest swapping your morning waffles with these chips topped with syrup for breakfast, if you’re feeling crazy. The upcoming flavor, Pink Himalayan Salt, is probably the most versatile option, which can be dipped in anything from hummus and guacamole to salsa.
What Do Consumers Think?
Most folks have the same initial reaction that I did. “At first, we see their mind’s go to 'crazy concept’ … then, once they taste and realize it crunches and tastes like a chip, they 'get it' and LOVE it!” says Wright. This new snack category can be found online or at stores like Whole Foods Market, Thrive Market, Sprouts Farmers Market, Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, Wegmans and King Soopers. Earth Fare, select Kroger stores and select airports will also start carrying these delicious, higher-protein chips soon.
Bottom Line: As a registered dietitian the one recommendation I have is to consume chicken chips like any food — in moderation. They do contain a fair amount of saturated fat, and consuming high amounts of saturated fat has been linked to a higher risk of heart disease.