Review: Frito-Lay’s Pinch of Salt and True North snacks

As an admitted chocoholic, there is only one other kind of snack that I ever crave – and that would be the salty kind, of course. And what I usually munch on when I want something salty are chips. Now I do have to admit that chips are certainly not the most healthy of snacks out there – but there are definitely options that make them a much better snack idea than they used to be.  My favorites happen to be Frito-Lay products – when I’m feeling like I want to eat a bit healthier, I pull out the Baked Lays. But when I’m in a slightly more ‘naughty’ mood food-wise, I go for the Cool Ranch Doritos. My husband and kids are big fans of Fritos and Cheetos as well.  :)

What they are:

Frito-Lay is a company which “believes that snacking should be good and fun”. Along with their traditional lines of products, they also offer a line of baked chips that have less fat, and a line of natural snacks (no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives). And now they have added a new line for those concerned with limiting their sodium intake as well.

Their new ‘Pinch of Salt‘ chips come in four varieties (Lay’s Classic Potato Chips, Ruffles Potato Chips, Tostitos Tortilla Chips and Fritos Corn Chips) and contain 30 to 50 percent less sodium than their original counterparts. And as part of their ‘natural’ line, they have introduced ‘True North‘, a snack made from almonds, pistachios, peanuts, pecans or walnuts. Every True North product contains 5g of protein per serving!

We received* a bag of Frito-Lay’s Pinch of Salt Classic chips to try out, as well as two samples of the True North snacks – the Peanut Crunches (whole peanuts which are gently coated, and flavored with a touch of honey, then baked for extra crunch) and the Peanut Clusters (crunchy nut clusters that combine freshly roasted peanuts with a surprising hint of sweetness).

Here’s my our take on them:

I do have to admit that I looked at the bag of chips with a bit of trepidation. After all, when I’m snacking on chips, it’s usually because I want the salty taste. I wasn’t sure that a ‘pinch’ of salt would be enough to satisfy my chip craving. Or to provide enough of a taste for my kids to see them as a viable alternative to the Doritos and Fritos that they love.

However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the pinch of salt was actually plenty. In fact, I realized while munching on these, that the traditional Lays chips are actually a bit too salty for my taste, and I liked these much better. My kids thought they were good as well – so I think that the next time I buy Fritos for them, I’ll try the ‘Pinch of Salt’ variety for those too. And for my husband as well – the only chips he eats are Ruffles and Fritos, and I was happy to see that both of those are part of the Pinch of Salt line.

I tend to like nuts, so had a feeling that I was going to become quite fond of the new True North snacks. And this time there was no surprise – they are awesome! Here’s the hint of sweetness to go with the salt from the chips – and I love the fact that there are no preservatives or artificial colors in them. The resealable bag makes it easy to grab just a handful, or dole a few out to the kids at a time.

My oldest and youngest daughters are the most adventurous with food. In fact, my oldest was begging to try the Peanut Clusters almost as soon as I took them out of the box they were shipped to us in. They’ve made a wonderful snack for her – especially before bedtime, since I know there is no added sugar. The only problem that she’s had with these is that she tends to give herself too many – they are more filling than they look. So her little sister is usually the recipient of her leftovers – and she hasn’t complained about that at all.

The bottom line:

We’ve been fans of Frito-Lay’s snacks for years, and I am so happy to see that they are providing alternatives which are healthier yet still taste just as good as the originals that we already love. I can’t wait to try the other varieties of both the Pinch of Salt chips and the True North snacks!

Where can you find them?:

Both of these product lines are available in grocery, retail and mass merchandise stores nationwide. The suggested retail price for the Pinch of Salt chips line is $2.29 for a 6-1/4 to 8-ounce package, depending on the product.

Re-Visiting this review (February 2010):

I actually had forgotten about the Pinch of Salt chips since I just don’t buy chips very often. I’ll definitely have to remember to keep these in mind the next time that I do so though. I do tend to buy Tostitos from time to time, but can’t buy the Pinch of Salt ones since my husband likes to snack on them and he doesn’t like the reduced salt. He grew up in a family that added salt to everything, and still does himself. I have been trying to cut down where I can, but tortilla chips are one battle that I’ve given up on. As for the True North snacks, I have bought these once or twice since doing the initial review, but have found that the girls just don’t eat them often enough to justify buying them more often. My oldest actually prefers plain peanuts to any other kind of nut, so that’s what I’ve been buying for her lately.

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*The initial product samples were provided at no cost to us.

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