Chewsday Review- Healtheries Potato Stix

Today’s Chewsday Review has been requested sooooooo many times lately. So, are Healtheries Potato Stix any good? Or are they just potato chips? Let’s see…

🔶Ingredients:
🔹Potato starch (42%), rice, wheat flour, vegetable oil, potato seasoning (maltodextrin, salt, vegetable powder), yeast extracts, mineral salt, natural flavour, spices, sugar, anti-caking agent (551), acidity regulator (270, 327)
🔹Potato starch is a refined powder made from the carbohydrate content of potatoes.
🔹The anti-caking agent prevents food particles from clumping together and is generally well-tolerated by most people. Acidity regulator 270 (lactic acid) and 327 (calcium lactate) are not of concern.
🔹Common allergens include: wheat
🔶The positives:
🔹Saturated fat and sugar within healthy guidelines. This is the same as Red Rock Deli chips, and about half the saturated fat content of Smith’s original chips.
🔹The bite and dissolve texture is very useful for teaching biting and chewing skills. This food is commonly used by feeding therapists because the shape helps children to learn to chew using their back teeth, and the stix dissolve away after an initial bite.
🔶The negatives:
🔹The fat content (13.4g/100g) exceeds healthy guidelines (10g/100g). This is about 40% less than Red Rock Deli chips and 60% less than Smith’s original chips. Interestingly, the product doesn’t clarify which type of vegetable oil they use, meaning it’s probably a fairly cheap product like palm oil (no health benefits and negative environmental impacts). The two comparison chips use sunflower oil or canola oil (much better quality).
🔹High sodium (salt) content (578mg/100g), which is actually more than both Red Rock Deli and Smith’s Original chips. The chicken version of these stix has even more sodium, but the cheese flavour has a bit less (still above recommendations).
🔹The carbohydrate content (more than two thirds of the product) comes mostly from refined carbohydrates, meaning there isn’t much of the nutritional goodness of wholegrain, nor any fibre.
🔹At $33 a kilo, these are three times the price of Smith’s chips and a similar price to Red Rock chips.
🔶The marketing:
🔹”50% less fat*” You have to turn over to the back and search to find out what this 50% comparison actually relates to. In this case, the stix contain 50% less fat than regular potato chips. This is true, but the saturated fat content (which I’m more concerned about) is comparable to some potato chips.
🔹 “Healtheries Stix contain less than 3g of total fat and less than 1g of saturated fat…which makes them ideal for your monsters’ lunchbox” Well, this is VERY misleading. Less than 3g of fat would be great, if it was per 100g. Instead, this is per serve, which is only 20g of potato stix. The lack of context makes it sound wayyyyy better than it actually is.
🔹”No preservatives, no artificial flavours or colours and no added MSG“. Yep, but so do most chip style snacks. In fact, the chips actually have less added ingredients than the stix- just potatoes, oil and salt.
🔶The alternatives:
🔹These stix have a lower fat content than potato chips (but possibly use a cheaper/more refined oil), and they have a higher sodium (salt) content. Otherwise, they’re pretty much crisps. They really don’t have any nutritional value, and they’re not going to fill kids up at snack time.
🔹I wouldn’t recommend these as an everyday food. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of ‘better’ bite and dissolve snack foods for teaching biting and chewing (Cruskits are one option, but you can read that review here.)
🔹I always recommend Rice or Corn Thins with less than 420mg of sodium as an alternative for foods like this.
About Mealtime Building Blocks
Dr Kyla Smith is a paediatric dietitian specialising in fussy eating, feeding difficulties and childhood nutrition. Lauren Pike is an occupational therapist working in fussy eating and feeding difficulties. They have a private practice called Mealtime Building Blocks in Perth, Western Australia. You can connect with Kyla and Lauren on their website and sign up for their newsletter, and the Facebook page or on the Instagram page.

I'm a paediatric dietitian working primarily with kids who find mealtimes difficult, or are considered 'fussy eaters'. I've spent 10 years working on a government funded Mealtime Management Team and I've just branched out on my own. I love the specialty area of mealtime difficulties. My blog is based on key questions that parents ask about childhood nutrition, feeding kids and managing fussy or picky eating.


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