Are Banana Chips Healthy?

Photo credit: Bigstockphoto
Photo credit: Bigstockphoto

You may have seen big bags of them in the snack food aisle of your local grocery store or natural food market. Fried or baked banana chips have become a popular snack. You may have even dropped a bag into your cart as a healthy alternative to cookies or candy. Happy that you resisted the cookies, you may have congratulated yourself on making the right choice. But did you do the right thing? Are banana chips really healthy?

The idea that baked banana chips are healthy makes intuitive sense. After all, they’re made of fruit and fruit just happens to be good for you. They’re found in almost every natural food market and health food store along with a variety of other items the health conscious crowd eats such as raisins, nuts, dried apples, and granola. Plus, baked banana chips aren’t deep fried like so many of the less virtuous potato chips.

Although most baked banana chips are less unhealthy than the more common banana chips that have been fried, you may want to reconsider before making them a staple of your diet. For one, most banana chips found even in your local health store are fried rather than baked. Not only that, but they’re usually deep fried in coconut oil which adds significantly to the fat content. In fact, three ounces of banana chips has around 440 calories and almost 29 grams of fat, most of which is saturated fat. Some packaged banana chips can also contain trans fats. For a “healthy” snack these chips can really take a toll on your arteries.

Even if you happen to come upon baked banana chips they may not taste as good as the deep fried ones. Many baked ones are pre-coated with honey or sugar to make them even sweeter and more palatable to the taste buds. This is why a three ounce serving of baked banana chips can pack up to fifty grams of carbohydrates. At least they do have five grams of fiber.

What about the vitamins? Bananas are rich in potassium as well as vitamin C. Aren’t you at least adding vitamins and minerals to your system when you munch on these tasty treats? Unfortunately, even the these may be partially lost due to the high cooking temperatures used to create the sweet, crispy texture so many people crave.

If you happen to find baked banana chips that have simply been dehydrated to remove the water without added oil, sugars, or trans fats, they may be a healthier option to the standard, deep fried banana chip but are likely to lack the sweet crunchiness characteristic of the fried ones.

If you crave the taste of banana, a better choice would be to head over to the produce department and buy them fresh. Peel one and smell the natural sweetness before gently sinking your teeth into it. Enjoy the sweet taste that Mother Nature offers without even a speck of guilt.

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