Chewsday Review- Ajitas Vege Chips

Another week, another veggie chip. Interestingly, these chips masquerading as vegetables seem to be pretty dodgy… Let’s see how the original vegetable chip compares. Today’s Chewsday Review features Ajitas Vege Chips in natural flavour.

🔶Ingredients:

🔹Cassava (60%), tapioca flour, sunflower oil, sugar, shallot leaf, salt, sesame seeds

🔹Common allergens include: sesame seeds

🔹Cassava is a root vegetable, often consumed in developing countries (a bit like a potato).

🔶The positives:

🔹Saturated fat within healthy guidelines. This is the same as Red Rock Deli chips and most lentil chips, and these chips contain about half the saturated fat content of Smith's original chips.

🔹Contain some fibre (a bit more than the Vege Chip Lentil chips). A 20g serving provides enough fibre to meet 6% of a toddler's daily fibre requirements and 4% of a preschoolers daily fibre requirements. This is much less than a 20g serving of actual veggies!!

🔶The negatives:

🔹Total fat is almost double the recommended guidelines at 18.8g/100g. This is about two thirds of fat content of potato chips.

🔹Sodium (salt) content exceeds nutritional guidelines of less than 420mg/100g by 30% (560mg/100g). A small handful of these provides half the daily sodium recommended for a 3 yr old. This is similar to the sodium content of Red Rock and Smith's chips. It is less than most other lentil chips.

🔶The marketing:

🔹”Snack on the LITE side” OK this got me really fired up. In Australia, the word LITE has no defined meaning on food packaging. You could put the word LITE on a packet to mean less fat, but it could also refer to the weight of the product (it’s a ‘light’ packet’, the flavour of the product (just a ‘light’ amount of flavouring) or even the colour of the product (it’s ‘light’ brown)! It doesn’t mean less kilojoules.

🔹”Vegan friendly” As are most potato chips because they’re just potato/vegetable and oil.

🔹”Nut free, egg free, dairy free, gluten free, no preservatives” This is true, but it doesn’t make them nutritious.

🔹“Less than 100 calories per serve.” This is definitely not something I’d be focusing on for kids, but this statement is also designed to mislead. A 20g serving (which works out to about 11 chips) of most chips will be less than or about equal to 100 calories. This does not make them a healthy or low calorie food. It just means you can’t eat many of them before reaching this number.

🔶The alternatives:

🔹These vege chips are nutritionally similar to regular potato chips. They’ve got a bit less total fat, but that’s about it. So, don't be fooled into thinking you're having a healthier chip, because you're most definitely not!

🔹If you like these chips, know that they’re not a magical food and just don’t eat them regularly. If you're using these to dip, I'd suggest the low or no salt rice crackers, or rice/corn cakes instead. Otherwise, just eat regular chips occasionally.

About Mealtime Building Blocks

Dr Kyla Smith is a paediatric dietitian specialising in fussy eating, feeding difficulties and childhood nutrition. Lauren Pike is an occupational therapist working in fussy eating and feeding difficulties. They have a private practice called Mealtime Building Blocks in Perth, Western Australia. You can connect with Kyla and Lauren on their website and sign up for their newsletter, and the Facebook page or on the Instagram page. You can also email them.

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