Healthy crisps: The best and worst crisps for your diet revealed

We're a nation of crisp lovers, but just how bad are crisps for your health and diet? We look at the calorie, fat and sat fat content of the most popular flavours to sort the healthy crisps from the ones, we'd be better off avoiding.

A close-up of some healthy crisps in a basket

We're a nation of crisp lovers, but just how bad are crisps for your health and diet? We look at the calorie, fat and saturated fat content of the most popular flavours to separate the healthy crisps from the ones that we'd be better off avoiding.

It's estimated that us Brits consume a heart-stopping 6 billion packets of crisps a year (that's 150 packets each). We have the largest selection of crisp flavours in Europe and munch our way through more packets of the potato snack than any other neighbouring country. Basically, we're crisp crazy, regardless of whether our crisps of choice are a healthy snack (opens in new tab) or not.

“Crisps seem to be a part of the lunchtime habit alongside the conventional sandwich, however, it should really be considered as an occasional treat instead," says registered dietitian Roxane Bakker, Head of Nutrition at Vitl (opens in new tab). Devoid of vitamins and minerals and known to carry high salt, fat and calories, crisps don't necessarily boast the best reputation - despite all their crunchy deliciousness.

We asked Roxane to help us rank a number of beloved crisp brands from best to worst nutrition-wise, so you're clued up next time you pick up a packet.

What are the healthiest crisps?

The healthiest crisps are Walkers French Fries which are the overall winners in terms of fat content and calories. One bag of these firm British favourites equates to 78 calories and boasts 2.9g of fat (the lowest in our round-up). These nutritional values apply to all three French Fries flavours too - be that Ready Salted, Salt and Vinegar or Cheese and Onion. So this means you can chop and change your choice without worrying that one flavour contains more calories or fat than the other.

  • Healthiest crisps overall: French Fries
  • Best crisps for salt content: Tesco’s Lentil Curls
  • Best crisps for fat content: French Fries

The least healthiest crisps are Pringles which show an alarming lack of nutritional goodness. Their label states that potatoes make up less than half of the recipe, meaning they’re packed with fatty oils and starch. What’s more, Original Ready Salted Pringles contain nearly 10g of fat per serving (that’s 13 crisps). It’s worth noting that this fat figure increases depending on what flavour you choose too, edging you closer to the NHS’s daily limit for saturated fat (opens in new tab) (less than 20g a day)

  • Worst crisps overall: Pringles Original
  • Worst crisps for salt content: Doritos Cool Tortilla Chips
  • Worst crisps for fat content: McCoy’s Flame Grilled Steak

Healthy crisps ranked from best and worst

Healthiest crisps overall: Walkers French Fries Ready Salted

The winner of our healthy crisps round-up are Walkers French Fries

Credit: Tesco

Per Packet (18g) – Cals: 78 Fat: 2.9g Saturated fat: 0.3g Sugar: 0.2g Salt: 0.45g Price: £1.50 for a pack of 6 at Tesco

Verdict: Walkers French Fries have the least fat, remarkably low saturates, and with 78 calories per 18g bag, you get more bang for your buck than other crisps on the spectrum. A worthy winner indeed!

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Popchips Sea salt and Vinegar Potato Chips

Popchips are the second healthiest crisps available.

Credit: Getty

Per Packet (23g) – Cals: 95 Fat: 3.3g Saturated fat: 0.3g Sugar: 0.6g Salt: 0.50g Price: 85p from Tesco

Verdict: Popchips are brilliantly low in saturated fats - a winning mark in our books! And with 95 calories per bag, they rate pretty highly in our healthy crisps round up too. Roxane says these crisps are 'popped' rather than fried which makes them a more nutritious option compared to other leading crisp brands. 

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Kp Skips Prawn Cocktail

Skips contain no artificial flavours which makes them a healthy crisps option

Credit: Tesco

Per Packet (13.1g) – Cals: 71 Fat: 4.2g Saturated fat: 0.4g Sugar: 0.9g Salt: 0.29g Price: 99p for a pack of 6 at Tesco

Verdict: There's many positives to this popular childhood crisp classic: “One of the healthier options out there in the crisp market, Skips don’t contain any artificial colours, flavours or MSG - a flavour-enhancing additive," says Roxane. They’re also made with 100% sunflower oil and are low in calories. Whilst the multipack bag is one of the smallest in weight (at only 13.1g), they are still one of the healthier options n the market.

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Best crisps for salt content: Tesco Lentil Curls Sour Cream and Chives

A packet of Tesco Lentil curls

Credit: Tesco

Per Packet (20g) – Cals: 93 Fat: 3.8g Saturated fat: 0.4g Sugar: 0.6g Salt: 0.4g Price: 85p for a pack of 6 at Tesco

Verdict: These tasty new crisps from Tesco don't score too badly on the calorie front, and aren't ridiculously high in fat, which makes them not a bad option for a midday snack. 

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Walkers Oven Baked Cheese and Onion Crisps

A bag of baked Walkers are healthy crisps

Credit: Ocado

Per Packet (25g) – Cals: 109 Fat: 3.4g Saturated fat: 0.3g Sugar: 1.9g Salt: 0.24g Price: £1.50 for a pack of 6 at Ocado

Verdict: The baked versions of Walkers crisps are far lower in fat and calories than the originals. If you're consciously counting the calories, we recommend swapping regular Walkers for their baked variety as they promise the same flavour but with better nutritional values. 

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Walkers Quavers

Walkers Quavers are a healthy packet of crisps

Credit: Tesco

Per Packet (16g) – Cals: 86 Fat: 4.9g Saturated fat: 0.4g Sugar: 0.4g Salt: 0.34g Price: £1.50 for a pack of 6 at Tesco

Verdict: 

“Despite having no artificial colours and flavours, these crisps are still relatively high in fat in comparison to it’s calories," notes Roxane. "They contain 12% 'real' cheese which suggests that they contain protein to help maintain muscle mass and keep cravings at bay.” The beauty of Quavers is that they're light, so a bag feels generous and you're still not eating a massive quantity of them.

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Walkers Wotsits Really Cheesy

A multi-pack of walkers wotsits - a good option in our healthy crisps list

Credit: Tesco

Per Packet (16.5g) – Cals: 82 Fat: 5.3g Saturated fat: 0.5g Sugar: 1.2g Salt: 0.26g Price: £1.50 for a pack of 6 at Tesco

Verdict: Another cheesy favourite. “At just 82 calories per 16.5g bag, these crisps are certainly a good low-calorie option if you’re treating yourself to crisps," says dietitian Roxane Bakker. Wotsits are baked and not fried, which helps to keep them under 100 calories. Though their saturated fat and sugar values make these a sub-par choice.

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Walkers Salt and Vinegar Squares

A packet of Walkers Squares

Credit: Tesco

Per Packet (22g) – Cals: 97 Fat: 4g Saturated fat: 0.3g Sugar: 0.8g Salt: 0.48g Price: £1.50 for a pack of 6 at Tesco

Verdict: Walkers Squares have very low amounts of sat fat and are relatively low in calories, but they still have 4g of fat per bag, so don't go consuming on a daily basis...

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Walkers Sunbites Sweet Chilli Flavour

A pack of sun bites crisps from Walker

Credit: Tesco

Per Packet (28g) – Cals: 134 Fat: 5.8g Saturated fat: 0.6g Sugar: 2.9g Salt: 0.17g Price: 65p at Tesco

Verdict: Sunbites are a multigrain snack that come in various flavours - most of which are fairly low in calories. They also provide one third of an adult's suggested daily amount of wholegrain per serving while having half the fat of a packet of ready salted crisps - and a third less calories. A great choice in our eyes!

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Hula Hoops Ready Salted

A 6 pack of hula hoops

Credit: Ocado

Per Packet (24g) – Cals: 121 Fat: 5.8g Saturated fat: 0.6g Sugar: 0.5g Salt: 0.34g Price: £1.70 for a 6 pack at Ocado

Verdict: Dissecting our healthy crisps list, Hula Hoops are low in sat fats and their calorie count is passable. But it's their fat content (5.8g) which is proportionately high for a small 24g bag. They are however made with no artificial flavours or colours and contain no MSG - an added bonus.

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Jacob’s Cheese Mini Cheddars

A mutlipack of Jacob's mini cheddars

Credit: Ocado

Per Packet (25g) – Cals: 128 Fat: 7.3g Saturated fat: 2.9g Sugar: 1.3g Salt: 0.6g Price: £1.50 for a 12 pack at Ocado

Verdict: Despite being baked not fried and containing no artificial colours of flavours, Mini Cheddars have the second highest saturated fat content after Pringles (must be all that delicious cheese). They also have a high fat content considering the calories are relatively low, so approach with caution.

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Kettle Chips Sea Salt & Balsamic Vinegar of Modena

A share bag of Kettle Chips Salt and Balsamic Vinegar

Credit: Ocado

Per 30g serving – Cals: 153 Fat: 8.4g Saturated fat: 0.8g Sugar: 0.5g Salt: 0.4g Price: £1.25 for a 5 pack at Ocado

Verdict: These deliciously 'posh' crisps are great when in need of a nibble, but they're pretty high in calories. They also contain 8.4g of fat per serving, though the amount of sat fat in these Kettle Chips is brilliantly low. 

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Walkers Monster Munch Mega Pickled Onion Snack

A packet of Monster Munch crisps

Credit: Tesco

Per packet (40g) – Cals: 197 Fat: 10g Saturated fat: 0.8g Sugar: 1.2g Salt: 0.62g Price: 85p at Tesco

Verdict: Of all the baked corn snacks on the market, Monster Munch have the highest number of calories and fat content. However, the pickled onion flavoured crisps do have a relatively low amount of saturated fats.

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Walkers Sensations Sweet Chilli Crisps

A packet of Walkers Sweet Chilli Sensations - one of the least healthy crisps

Credit: Tesco

Per packet (40g) – Cals: 197 Fat: 9.9g Saturated fat: 0.9g Sugar: 1.6g Salt: 0.57g Price: 85p at Tesco

Verdict: Despite being free from preservatives, artificial colours or sweeteners, these crisps are still high in calories and have a high fat content. However they are relatively low in saturates, so if you really can't resist their spicy flavour, they're not the worst choice you could make. Just don't get sucked in by a sharesize bag - there's 504 calories in every 100g.

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Worst crisps for salt content: Doritos Cool Original Tortilla Chips

A packet of cool Dorito tortilla crisps

Credit: Tesco

Per packet (48g) – Cals: 239 Fat: 12.2g Saturated fat: 1.7g Sugar: 1.3g Salt: 0.71g Price: 85p at Tesco

Verdict: Bad news for fans of the humble corn chip - Doritos are the classic crisps to share with mates but with over 200 calories for a 48g grab bag they are notably high in calories and fat. They also have high sodium levels - again, one best left on the supermarket shelf.

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Worst crisps for fat content: McCoys Flame Grilled Steak Crisps

A packet of McCoy's flaming steak flavour crisps

Credit: Tesco

Per packet (47.5g) – Cals: 250 Fat: 15g Saturated fat: 1.3g Sugar: 1.1g Salt: 0.71g Price: 85p at Tesco

Verdict: Because of the size of each packet (nearly 50g - almost double the weight of other packets) these crisps are far from healthy or even low in fat. As Roxane notes: "To burn this amount of fat off it would take nearly an hour of cycling or 40 minutes of running." There's also nothing on the packets to suggest they're free from artificial colours of flavours. McCoys Flame Grilled Steak crisps are fine as a one-off treat, but keeping them in your cupboard on a regular basis is a recipe for diet disaster. 

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Worst crisps overall: Pringles Original

A tube of original Pringles crisps

Credit: Tesco

Per 30g serving – Cals: 154 Fat: 9.9g Saturated fat: 1.1g Sugar: 0.4g Salt: 0.40g Price: £2.50 at Tesco

Verdict: Sadly, Pringles rate the worst overall in our healthy crisps list. “A 30g serving equates to around just 13 crisps, containing nearly 10g of fat and just less than 1g of both salt and sugar," says Roxane. The dietitian adds: “Although these are identified as crisps, they actually contain 42% potato, leaving the rest up to wheat starch, sunflower oil, maize oil and rice flour." Our days of popping Pringles might very well be behind us, or at least best enjoyed on extra rare occasions.

View at Tesco (opens in new tab)