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Potato chips are widely considered junk food, while plantain chips are often sold in the health food section. Although the two are not much different nutritionally, plantain chips are lower in fat and calories and richer in vitamins than potato chips. To avoid the high fat content of commercially prepared plantain chips, bake your own batch using a healthy oil and your own seasonings.
The Institute of Medicine recommends that no more than 35 percent of your total caloric intake comes from fat. A 3-ounce serving of potato chips has 461 calories and 31 grams of fat, while the same amount of plantain chips provides 452 calories and 25 grams of fat. Each gram of fat has 9 calories, so 60 percent of the calories from potato chips are from fat, while 50 percent of the calories in plantain chips are from fat. Although both are high-fat foods, plantain chips are less fattening.
Plantain chips are richer in vitamin C than potato chips. The Institute of Medicine recommends that men get 90 milligrams and women eat 75 milligrams of this antioxidant nutrient each day. Each 3-ounce serving of plantain chips gives you 27 milligrams of vitamin C, about one-third of the recommended daily intake. Vitamin C benefits your immune system and cell health. It also helps your body absorb iron from the foods you eat. Potato chips provide 16 milligrams of vitamin C.
A serving of plantain chips provides more than one-fourth of the vitamin K you need each day. Vitamin K ensures that your blood properly clots, and it helps to keep your bones strong, reducing your risk of developing osteoporosis. A vitamin K deficiency can lead to excessive bleeding, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. People with gallbladder disease, cystic fibrosis, celiac disease, Crohn's disease or liver disease are at risk for vitamin K deficiencies. Potato chips provide about one-fifth of the vitamin K you need daily.
Homemade Plantain Chips
For a truly healthy snack, bake your own plantain chips. Doing so enables you to control the amount of fat and salt they contain. In its September, 2011 issue, "Time" magazine suggests peeling and slicing plantains and tossing them with a little olive oil, which contains healthy, unsaturated fats that won't cause arterial plaque to accumulate and increase your risk of heart attack or stroke. Before you bake the plantain chips, you can season them with chili powder, cumin and cayenne pepper for extra flavor.