The protein snacks that are less than advertised

You don't always get what you want.


How about some “Protein Peanuts” from Frito-Lay?

Think “protein” peanuts should have more protein than regular peanuts, especially since they’re coated with soy and whey protein?

Think again. Ounce for ounce, Frito-Lay’s Nut Harvest “Crunchy Protein Peanuts” deliver no more protein than regular peanuts. An ounce of Planters roasted peanuts, for example, has the same 7 grams of protein.

Hey, but you do get more sugar from the Nut Harvest version. And it costs more, too!


Quinoa has a (somewhat undeserved) reputation for being a high-protein grain. (And for being difficult to pronounce, too: either KEEN-wah or kee-NO-ah.)

Simply 7 is a Houston-based snack company that claims its Quinoa Chips “are designed to deliver all the flavor and nutrients of the ancient super grain quinoa.”

Would a hefty amount of protein be among those nutrients?

Not really. Simply 7’s Sea Salt Quinoa Chips contain almost no protein. Well, almost none. One gram per serving. That’s it.

How can that be when the first ingredient is quinoa flour? For starters, quinoa isn’t exactly high in protein. And it’s not as if you’re eating a serving of quinoa in these chips. There’s also potato starch, corn starch, oil, corn flour, sugar, and salt.

Well, at least the company no longer claims that these chips are a “Good source of protein.” That’s what bags of Simply 7 Sea Salt Quinoa Chips said until last spring.

Hmm. You’d need about 65 grams of quinoa to supply the 9 grams of protein the old label said was in each 28-gram serving.

That might explain why Simply 7’s current label lists the protein at just 1 gram. The company says it switched farmers, and that “the new quinoa has less protein.”

Our guess: It didn’t realize (or choose to recognize) what any nutritionist would: that its original lab analysis was probably wrong.

Better alternatives

Looking for a real healthy snack with some protein?

The Enlightened brand of “Sea Salt Roasted Broad Beans” is one possibility. They taste more like crackers or chips than beans, thanks to oil and some salt. It’s hard to beat 7 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber in every 100-calorie serving.

Other options: The Good Bean brand of “Crispy Crunchy Chickpeas” with 5 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber for 120 calories.  Or Seapoint Farms “Dry Roasted Edamame” with around 14 grams of protein, 8 grams of fiber, and 130 calories.

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