Are Tortilla Chips Healthy? While tortilla chips may seem like a healthy snack, eating them in excess on a regular basis can cause carb counts to skyrocket and in turn, cause your waist-line to expand. Like other high-calorie, high carb foods, tortilla chips are best enjoyed in moderation, especially if you’re following a low carb diet, like Keto.
With that being said, enjoying tortilla chips on occasion is just fine if you limit your portion size or choose a lower carb brand of chips. The best way to eat tortilla chips in moderation is to count out a serving and place them in a bowl. Never snack directly out of the bag, as it is much more difficult to stop at one serving.
Although tortilla chips have few health benefits, you can boost their nutritional value by pairing them with salsa and/or guacamole. This trick adds nutrients without adding many extra carbs or calories.
How Many Calories in Tortilla Chips?
If you are feeling adventurous, you can make your own tortilla chips with reduced calories, carbs and fat. A one ounce corn tortilla brushed with a half teaspoon of olive oil and baked instead of fried contains only 82 calories, 18 grams of carbs and 3 grams of fat.
What are Tortilla Chips?
Tortilla chips are cut up pieces of corn tortilla that have been fried or baked until crisp. They’re typically eaten as a snack, topped with cheese or served alongside chili or dips like salsa, sour cream, or guacamole.
The crunchy, triangle-shaped tortilla chip was popularized in the 1940’s by Rebecca Webb Carranza. Carranza created these chips as a way to use the misshapen tortillas from the automated tortilla manufacturing machine at her tortilla factory in Los Angeles, California.
Although Carranza’s invention was initially a way for her to prevent the rejected tortillas from going to waste, tortilla chips became a hit and spanned globally into the snack we all still enjoy today.
While both white and yellow corn tortilla chips contain only a small amount of nutrients, they can be a healthy snack option if eaten in moderation. Blue corn chips make a better choice because they’re a bit higher in protein and provide at least double the calcium, iron and niacin.
If you make your own tortilla chips, you can reduce the carbs by using almond or coconut flour and reduce the fat by baking instead of frying.
Gluten-Free Tortilla Chips
Gluten-free corn tortillas make an ideal snack choice for those with celiac disease and gluten intolerance. The Keto diet restricts all grains and may be a natural transition for someone who is on a gluten free diet.
Corn tortillas make a better snack choice over flour tortillas if you are following a strict low-carb diet, like Keto, which doesn’t allow bread, grains or grain-based products.
Opt for tortilla chips that are made with corn tortillas, over ones made from wheat flour tortillas. Blue or yellow corn is naturally gluten-free, making it a better ingredient for you to consume in your chips. You can find taco shells and even tostada shells made from 100% corn flour either in your local grocery store or shop for them online.
Many recipes for tortilla chips that you make from scratch use corn flour and are gluten-free. Almond flour is another flour that is gluten free. Those following the Keto diet should note that almond flour is an excellent substitution for wheat or corn flour. It is a stand-alone flour that does not require a combination of other flours to enhance it.
Healthier Tortilla Chip Brands
Quest Nutrition Protein Tortilla Chips, Nacho Cheese Low Carb, Gluten Free, Soy Free, Potato Free, Baked. If you eat these chips with an accompaniment (like guacamole, chili, or queso) they taste pretty much just like nacho cheese Doritos, only with a thinner, lighter, more cracker-like consistency.
These chips still taste good by themselves, but there is a slight aftertaste. They are a better low carb version of tortilla chips; however, they’re not to be considered a health food, as they’re still a processed food with a long list of ingredients.
With that being said, if you are trying to cut back on carbs and find yourself wrestling with cravings for your old nemesis, Nacho Cheese Doritos, then Quest Tortia Chips make a great, lower carb replica.
A 32 gram bag of Quest Nacho Cheese Tortilla Style Protein Chips contains 140 calories, 6 grams of fat, 5 grams of carbs, 1 gram of fiber, under 1 gram of sugar, and 18 grams of protein.
According to the Frito- Lay website, a 28 gram serving of Nacho Cheese flavored Doritos has: 140 calories, 8 grams of fat, 16 grams of carbs, 1 gram of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.
That’s a significant carb savings. Quest brand contains only 1/3 of the carbs and 9 times the protein of Doritos!
Garden of Eatin’ Blue Chips, No Salt Added, 16 chips serving contains 18 grams of carbs. No Salt Added Blue Corn Tortilla Chips – Made with organic blue corn and expeller-pressed oils. Certified organic corn and Non-GMO Project Verified. Gluten-free and Kosher. These do not contain hydrogenated oils, artificial flavors, colors or artificial preservatives. These chips are rated 5 stars on Amazon!
Guiltless Gourmet Chipotle Tortilla Chips, 18 chips, 22 grams of carbs per serving. Once again, if Doritos are your weakness, Guiltless Gourmet Chipotle Tortilla Chips are another great way for you to have that same great nacho cheese flavour, but with fewer calories, fewer ingredients and half the fat of Doritos.
I wouldn’t necessarily call them completely “guiltless,” however, as their carb count remains high. Just be careful not to overindulge.
Tostitos Oven-Baked Scoops Tortilla Chips, 16 chips 22 grams carbs. At 120 calories and just three grams of fat, this brand is considered one of the healthier brands in the supermarket.
The amazing part is that these delicious crunchy crisps are made with only three ingredients: corn, vegetable oil and salt. The carb count per serving is still relatively high, however, so you may wish to reduce the serving size to 8 chips, which yeilds only 11 grams of carbs.
Best Dips to Accompany Low Carb Tortilla Chips
Tomato salsa is low in carbs, fat and calories, but also rich in vitamins and minerals. Guacamole provides many nutrients and a good amount of healthy unsaturated fat. Therefore, salsa and guacamole or sliced avocado make great low carb options to enjoy with tortilla chips.
Chili is another great choice for dipping your tortilla chips, as long as you go easy on the corn and beans in your chili. A dollop of sour cream is another great dip, as it is low in carbs as well.
Cheese, cream cheese, and queso also make great low carb toppings, and they provide a good source of protein and satiating fat to keep you feeling full for longer.
Calories in Tortilla Chips
There are 465 calories and 73 grams of carbs in a 100 gram serving of white or yellow corn tortilla chips. A 28 gram serving contains 140 Calories and 19 grams of Carbs. That equates to 74 calories and 12 grams of carbs in a serving of 10 chips.
Yellow corn and white corn tortilla chips both share roughly the same nutritional profile. While both types contain a small amount of nutrients, blue corn tortilla chips are a slightly better choice because they’re higher in protein and provide at least double the calcium, iron and niacin.
Low Carb Tortilla Chips Recipe
These tasty tortilla chips made with almond flour are low in carbs, gluten-free and perfect for a low carb diet, like Keto. Almond flour works wonderfully in baked goods and is higher in fat, yet low in carbs. For these reasons, almond flour ranks highest as the best flour for those following the Keto diet.
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella
- 3/4 cup almond flour
- 2 tablespoon cream cheese
- 1 egg
- salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- pinch chilli powder
- Mix the shredded cheese and almond flour in a microwaveable bowl.
- Add the cream cheese.
- Microwave on high for 1 minute.
- Stir well to mix, then microwave on high for another 30 seconds.
- Remove and stir again.
- Add the egg, salt, and seasonings. Combine.
- Place the dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper and roll into a very thin large square.
- Remove the top layer of parchment paper.
- Slide the parchment paper with the dough on to a large baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, until light brown.
- Flip the dough over and brown the other side.
- Once cooked, remove from the oven and cut into tortilla chip triangle shapes with a pizza slicer.
- Bake again at 425 degrees for another 5 minutes until chips are crispy.
Low Carb Alternatives to Tortilla Chips
You can make your own healthy, low carb substitutes for tortilla chips at home. Bake your own kale chips, radish chips, cucumber chips, or even cheese chips!
There are many great recipes online for you to try, but generally, most recipes involve thinly slicing a low carb veggie of choice into “chips”. Then simply toss the chips in olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and your favorite seasoning mix, and then bake them on parchement lined baking sheet until crisp.
Experiment with your favorite low carb veggies and seasoning combinations and you might just be delighted with what you can create on your own!