Everybody has different wacky opinions on dieting, but most agree on one thing: Dieting at McDonald’s is bad and useless. “What’s even the point of getting a large Diet Coke with a Big Mac and fries?” is probably something you’ve heard before. Until recently, I shared that sentiment as well.
Numerically, dieting is simple. If you consume fewer calories than you burn, you lose weight. You can do so by burning more calories (running, lifting weights) or consuming fewer calories (eating less food, eating different food).
Now that I don’t play sports five days a week, like I did from ages 5-22, I have to at least somewhat pay attention to what I eat. And since I primarily organize my life through Google Docs, it makes sense that my most effective strategy is to track every calorie I consume, and at the end of the day make sure that number is less than however many calories I burned. How much I give a shit waxes and wanes, but when I do care, I basically treat myself like a robot.
But such a reductive understanding of weight loss ignores how many different ways there are to get it done. For whatever reasons—economics, tastebuds, willpower, scheduling—not everybody can, or will, stop going to McDonald’s and begin exclusively eating fish, lentils, and carrots. And so—ignoring for a second the potential bad shit that aspartame has sort of been linked to—getting a Diet Coke instead of a regular Coke is at least a good first step to weight loss.
Some people just want to eat better, so they switch to healthier alternatives. Some people can lose weight just by cutting out beer. Some people go on ridiculous supposed caveman diets and stop eating bread. Some people jump from fad diet to fad diet. These diets are all good and bad in the exact same way: They only work if you actually follow it.
And so I am coming around to healthier alternatives to certain foods. Instead of believing that monastically cutting out snacking altogether is the only real way to lose weight, I’m open to snacking smarter. And that’s how I discovered Snapea Crisps.
Snapea Crisps are green pea pods that have been baked and salted until they resemble green-colored Cheetos. They’re advertised as a healthy potato-chip alternative, and have a pretty simple ingredient list: green peas, vegetable oil, rice, salt, calcium carbonate. I assume the rice is to get the right texture, and calcium carbonate is just added calcium. The rest makes perfect sense.
I’d go so far as to say they’re really good. My favorite thing is how perfectly they’re salted. They’re definitely salty and scratch that itch, but nowhere near as salty as potato chips. On first bite they have a mild taste that reminded me of eating edamame at a Japanese restaurant, which makes a lot of sense. After you really get into the crisp, a stronger, pleasant pea taste follows.
The texture is pretty similar to Cheetos, without the heavy coating of Cheeto dust on the outside. And while they’re definitely crunchy, they’re a bit more snappy than crunchy, if that makes any sense. They are pretty fun to eat.
They are not potato chips, and I won’t be putting them on a plate next to my sandwich or burger. But if you bust these out next time you have a gathering, once the babies stop kvetching about how they want real food, they’ll happily enjoy snacking on them.
And if you’re just looking for something to pop into your mouth, you could do a lot worse than Snapea Crisps. They have about 25 percent fewer calories than most potato chips, and 50 percent less sodium. While reviewing them, I accidentally downed the entire bag, and while that wasn’t preferable, it didn’t make me feel like nearly as much of a lard-ass as eating an entire bag of potato chips would’ve. That’s progress!
Welcome to Bougie Food Reviews, an irregular series where we review the most highfalutin products available in the grocery store. If you’ve got an idea for a future review, email the author here.