Yes, you can still enjoy chips while following a diabetes-appropriate diet. Here are the brands we love, plus what to look for when you shop.

Katie Shields, MS, RDN

Contrary to common belief, you can enjoy chips as a snack, even if you have diabetes. While you'll still need to keep an eye on sodium and be carb-conscious, you don't have to ban the foods you love from your diet. We'll show you how to make sense of what's on the shelves, discuss some ways to healthfully include chips in your diet and share our favorite finds. You'll get our favorite healthy picks for potato chips and tortilla chips and learn what to look for on the labels.

Related: Try this 7-Day Diabetes Meal Plan

What to look for when shopping for chips

Keep it simple: Look for chips featuring short ingredient lists, and without artificial preservatives and flavors. Keep an eye out for added sugars and excess sodium, which are commonly added to barbecue-flavored chips, or any other chips with a sweet or salty taste.

Be heart-healthy: Choose chips cooked with heart-healthy vegetable oils-like sunflower or safflower. Expeller-pressed means the oil was extracted naturally, without use of chemical agents.

Baked versus fried versus kettle-cooked: You'll save a few grams of fat by choosing baked chips, but don't be fooled into thinking "kettle-cooked" is a more healthful option. Kettle-cooked chips are still fried-just in smaller batches of oil to give them that extra-crispy texture.

Choose whole-grain: For tortilla chips, fill up on satiating fiber by picking brands that contain whole-grain corn, which might appear as "whole kernel" or "stone ground" corn on the label.

Related: Best Cold Cereal Brands for Diabetes

How to fit chips into a diabetes-friendly diet

While chips don't offer much nutritional value on their own, they can still be part of a healthful, diabetes-friendly diet when eaten in moderation. Munch mindfully by portioning out a reasonable amount of chips-a 1-ounce serving typically translates to about 15 regular potato chips or 10 tortilla chips-and returning the bag to the pantry. (Or eliminate the guesswork by buying single-serve packages.) As with all meals and snacks, balance blood sugar by pairing carbohydrate-rich foods with a serving of protein-think guacamole, homemade hummus or low-sodium deli meat.

When eating chips with a sandwich, skip the second slice of bread and make a half-size version or open-face sandwich to keep your overall carb count in check. We love crushing a few tortilla chips on top of taco salad or a low-sodium bowl of soup. Instead of scooping high-calorie queso cheese, try one of these heart-healthier swaps: 1/4 cup low-sodium salsa and a dollop of low-fat sour cream; 1/4 of an avocado mashed with lime juice; or sprinkle chips with 2 tablespoons of reduced-fat Mexican cheese and melt in the microwave.

Related: Make Your Own Healthy Salsa.

Nutrition Guidelines:

Serving size: 1 ounce = about 15 regular potato chips; about 10 tortilla chips. Always check the label, since serving size varies widely depending on brand.

Calories: ≤160 calories
Carbohydrates: ≤25 g
Saturated Fat: ≤2 g
Trans Fat: 0 g
Sodium: ≤240 mg
Fiber: Aim for at least 2 g

Best Chip Brands for Diabetes

We put these chips to the test. Here are our favorite potato chips and tortilla chips that meet our nutrition guidelines and taste great.

Photo: FritoLay

Simply Lay's Sea Salted Thick Cut Potato Chips

Serving size: 17 chips

160 calories, 15 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 2 g protein, 10 g fat, 1 g sat fat, 0 g trans fat, 160 mg sodium

Photo: FritoLay

Sun Chips 100% Whole Grain Original

Serving size: 16 chips

140 calories, 19 g carbs, 2 g protein, 6 g fat, 0.5 g sat fat, 0 g trans fat, 110 mg sodium

Photo: Amazon

365 Everyday Value Kettle Cooked Potato Chips Sea Salt

Serving size: 18 chips

150 calories, 17 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 1 g protein, 8 g fat, 0.5 g sat fat, 0 g trans fat, 160 g sodium

Photo: Cape Cod

Cape Cod Kettle Cooked Potato Chips 40% Less Fat Sweet Mesquite Barbeque

Serving size: 18 chips

130 calories, 18 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 2 g protein, 6 g fat, 0.5 g sat fat, 0 g trans fat, 150 mg sodium

Photo: Late July

Late July Organic Sea Salt Thin & Crispy Restaurant Style Tortilla Chips

Serving size: 10 chips

130 calories, 17 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 2 g protein, 7 g fat, 0.5 g sat fat, 0 g trans fat, 65 mg sodium

Photo: Guiltless Gourmet

Guiltless Gourmet Baked Yellow Corn Tortilla Chips

Serving size: 18 chips

120 calories, 22 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 2 g protein, 3 g fat, 0 g sat fat, 0 g trans fat, 180 mg sodium

Photo: FritoLay

Tostitos Baked Scoops Tortilla Chips

Serving size: 16 chips

120 calories, 22 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 2 g protein, 3 g fat, 0 g sat fat, 0 g trans fat, 140 mg sodium

Curious about alternative chip options on the shelves? There are always new products popping up-beyond the traditional potato and corn chips. We're big fans of the brand Beanitos, made from legumes instead of potatoes or corn. Beanitos have a comparable nutritional profile to potato or tortilla chips, but pack in about 5 grams of satiating protein and 4 grams of fiber per serving. And, while not technically a potato chip or a tortilla chip, Popchips-potato chips that are air-popped, not baked or fried-offer a slightly lower-fat alternative to traditional chips.

Don't Miss:

Top Fast-Food Picks for People with Diabetes
Foods to Avoid with Diabetes

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