Snacking during the day can be a great way to stave off hunger (and potentially avoid overeating during meals). But certain snacks in the vending machine are decidedly less than healthy. Banana chips sound like a more natural alternative to, say, potato chips – but how healthy are they really?
Calories and Carbs for Energy
Banana chips are moderately high in calories. A 1.5-ounce serving has 218 calories, or roughly 10 percent of your daily calorie allowance if you follow a standard 2,000-calorie diet. Most of the calories come from carbohydrates and fat – 25 and 14 grams, respectively. Both of these nutrients serve as concentrated sources of energy. That means banana chips can keep your body fueled up between meals, but it also means that eating large portions of banana chips can trigger weight gain.
A Good Source of Magnesium
Snacking on banana chips means you’ll get some nutritional value for your calorie investment. The chips are a good source of some essential vitamins, especially magnesium. Your body needs magnesium for energy production, cell-to-cell communication and DNA synthesis, an important part of cell growth. It also works together with other minerals – like calcium and phosphorus – to make up bone and tooth tissue, which means eating foods high in magnesium may help keep your skeleton strong. A serving of banana chips will net you 32 milligrams of magnesium. That’s between 8 and 10 percent of your daily magnesium needs, depending on your sex.
A Potassium Powerhouse?
Part of the reason bananas have a good health reputation is their potassium content. These chips offer some potassium as well, though it might be less than you expect. Each serving supplies 225 milligrams of potassium, or about 5 percent of the potassium you need in a day. This potassium offers some health benefits, including support for your nerves and muscles and blood pressure-lowering properties. But you’re better off eating a fresh banana to get your potassium with fewer calories.
Other Drawbacks to Consider
Many commercially available banana chips are both fried and sweetened, which means they’re relatively high in fat and added sugar. While fat itself isn’t necessarily bad, you’ll take in about 12 grams of saturated fat, which won’t do much for your cardiovascular health. Worse, banana chips contain added sugar, which is linked to obesity, heart disease and diabetes. That means banana chips are best enjoyed as an occasional treat. If you’re craving something crunchy, try snacking on unsalted almonds or walnuts instead.
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Source: Healthy Eating