Which is the More Nutritious Snack – Pretzel or Potato Chip?

pretzels and potato chips

photo: bloatalrecall

Potato chips and pretzels are a mainstay of American snacks. Say you’re at a party that’s offering just these 2 snacks, which do you choose?

The trivial answers are “the one that tastes best”. But let’s analyze the options through the lens of a dietitian. We’ll compare a single serving of chips to pretzels.

One-ounce serving of potato chips:

  • 150 calories
  • 10 grams fat (3 grams saturated fat)
  • 180 milligrams of sodium

One-ounce serving of pretzels:

  • 110 calories
  • 1 gram fat (0 grams saturated)
  • 500 milligrams sodium

At first, the pretzels seem like the best choice. They’ve got about 40% less calories, and almost no fat. But this is a shortsighted view.

A good snack needs to include protein, fat, and fiber in order to keep you feeling satiated. The pretzels contain virtually none of the these 3 nutrients. You’ll be craving additional nosh faster than you can lick the salt off your lips. Speaking of which, those 500 milligrams of sodium are over 20% of the recommended daily maximum consumption. Way too much.

While chips are higher in fat due to the oil they are fried in, they are made of potatoes, a nutrient rich vegetable (technically a tuber), compared to the refined wheat flour used for pretzels. Which means you are at least getting some vitamin C, and a heaping portion of potassium (400-500 milligram, which is 15% of the recommended daily intake). Potassium is a nutrient that sorely lacks in the American diet.

Does this mean we recommend potato chips as a source of nutrition? No. But given the option to choose between potato chips and pretzels, you now know what to do.

  • Sunny

    Carbohydrate-rich deep-fried foods like potato chips can trigger carcinogenic byproducts like acrylamide.

  • Mary

    Unless you are really hungry why eat either?

  • Utopia

    Both are not good snacks on their own. Personally I dont feel good after eating greasy food, including potato chips so the better option for me would be pretzels. It is also easier for me to stop eating pretzels than potato chips, hence another reason to choose pretzels. Lastly, I do not need to choose potato chips goes their added nutrients because I already eat a nutrient dense diet. I don’t need chips to get potassium. My banana does that. To sum it all up, a serving of pretzels with a tablespoon of natural peanut butter should do the trick.

  • jadegreen_eyz

    When I used to snack on pretzels, I always bought pretzel rods so I could scrape the salt off. I know, I’m weird. I just had to make sure I drank extra liquid because they had a “binding” effect.

  • Olena

    I can’t eat gluten so i don’t eat pretzels. I always feel like crap after eating junk food, so I don’t normally eat potato chips either. People should serve fruit & vegetable trays. Costco has some new gluten free & organic chips & non gmo popcorn that I really like.

  • Cactus_Wren

    If I were at a party where pretzels and potato chips were the only snacks available, I know very well what choice I would make: I’d choose a better party!