Getting into the game of ‘fancy’ snacks is Safeway grocery stores. Hiding in the fresh produce section is a line by their house brand, Open Nature. The line is “all-natural” with no fake coloring, flavoring or preservatives. We picked up a couple to sample:
Having tried a number of brands of veggie chips I wanted to compare the flavor, texture and appearance to the ‘name brands’. Price-wise they are pretty close to the name brands. The veggie chips were in the $3.49 range, the kale chips were in the $5 – so not a discount. Which was odd since usually the Open Nature brand is cheaper overall.
Side note – all 3 were vegan friendly and are marked on the front of the packages, along with the nutritional stats in an easy to read format.
The carrot chips are a winner. Crisp, sweet and lightly crunchy they have great flavor. They are also low in sodium – 35 mg per serving. Well worth the cost for the bag – kids would love these, especially if you “forget” to tell them they are carrots. They are also lower in fat than the sweet potatoes.
The downside? They are not a product of the US.
The kale chips. The taste is good. Really good. I wanted to love them but the texture was bad. The problem was the hard spines of the kale had not been removed. I might as well have been biting down on hard sticks with really pointy ends. Not good at all. The key in kale chips is you want the leaves but not the spines! Brands like Rhythm Superfoods have wonderful crisps and they are raw as well.
I figure I can salvage them by breaking off the spines and crumbling the leaves, then using them to top meals like you would with cheese. At $5 a bag it was too pricey for getting hard pieces! Bonus though is they are made in the US and half a bag is 180 calories, 9 grams fat and 7 grams protein – from the cashews and sunflower seeds.
Sweet Potato Chips – great flavor, great crunch. They have skins on, which is a nice touch. Product of the US and 150 calories a serving with 7 grams fat. One serving is 230% of your daily vitamin A These I approved of, almost more than the name brands. I liked how thinly sliced the potatoes were, they crunched easily, where as the name brands are thicker.
The line also includes green beans and mixed vegetable chips. Is it worth it? If you don’t have a natural foods store such as Whole Foods or a local co-op nearby, yes. They are a fun way to add fried veggies and variety to your diet while hiking. But do yourself a favor and skip the kale chips. Your teeth and cheeks will thank you!