There is something completely irresistible about a pita chip. Sure, it's just flatbread. But when it's sliced, toasted and dusted with salt, it becomes an addictively delicious, crispy snack.

Pita chips are not only versatile, happy with hummus or supporting some cheese, they also tend to be healthier than other chips, packing significantly less fat and often less salt. The two most important issues with pita chips are texture and flavor. Overcoat the chip with spices and flavorings, and it's a lose-lose. Texture is much more complex, as the crunch depends on thickness, technique and fat content.

Many pita chips are made from ordinary white flour. The ones made with whole grain flours deliver a range of results. This taste-off included samples from the three basic pita chip categories: plain chips made with white flour, whole grain chips and flavored chips. Here's the scoop:

365 Whole Foods Sea Salt Chips

These thick chips are the top pick. They're tender but they have substantial crunch, toasty flavor, minimal salt and a great price tag. A serving has 110 calories, 3 grams fat, 220 mg. sodium. A 6-ounce bag is $1.99. (4 stars)

Bearitos Sea Salt Pita Chips

These chips are thinner than most and have a fresh, clean flavor. The multigrain variety delivers a similarly pleasant flavor profile. 110 calories, 3.5 grams fat, 220 mg. sodium. A 7-ounce bag is $3.19 at Whole Foods. (4 stars)


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Stacy's Cinnamon Sugar Pita Chips

Crispy and barely sweet, these addictive chips are reminiscent of cookies, but with a fraction of the fat and calories. 140 calories, 5 grams fat, 115 mg. sodium. A 6-ounce bag is $2.78 at Wal-Mart. (4 stars)

Trader Joe's Parmesan, Garlic & Herb Pita Chips

These thick chips are the best savory flavored chips, with authentic parmesan flavor and a pleasant hint of garlic. 140 calories, 5 grams of fat and 270 mg. sodium. A 6-ounce bag is $1.99. (4 stars)

Stacy's Multigrain Pita Chips

Toasty flavor and a solid crunch that doesn't hurt your teeth make these chips a solid choice, despite the fact that they contain very little whole grain. 140 calories, 5 grams fat, 270 mg. sodium. A 6-ounce bag is $2.78 at Wal-Mart. (3½ stars)

Athenos Baked Original Pita Chips

These dark brown chips have good flavor, but they're so crunchy they make your teeth chatter. 120 calories, 4 grams fat, 270 mg. sodium. A 9-ounce bag is $3.49 at Safeway. (3 stars)

Stacy's Simply Naked Pita Chips

These are not offensive, but they are slightly sweet, and the flavor of oil quashes the freshness. 130 calories, 5 grams fat, 270 mg. sodium. A 6-ounce bag is $2.78 at Wal-Mart. (2 stars)

Way Better Snacks Heritage Grains Pita-ahh Chips

People who love the nutty flavor of whole grains will enjoy these ultra-delicate, alternative chips that bear little resemblance to traditional pita chips. 120 calories, 5 grams fat, 140 mg. sodium. A 6-ounce bag is $3.99 at Whole Foods. (2 stars)

Way Better Snacks Smoked Havarti Pita-ahh Chips

Smoked Havarti is delicious, but turning that flavor into a powder to dust on chips is odd -- not bad, but odd enough that it won't appeal to everyone. 120 calories, 5 grams fat, 120 mg. sodium. A 6-ounce bag is $3.99 at Whole Foods. (1½ stars)

Trader Joe's Reduced Guilt Sea Salt Pita Chips

Reducing calories and fat is a great thing, but it's important to preserve flavor. These thick chips are nearly taste-free. 100 calories, 2.5 grams fat, 180 mg. sodium. A 6-ounce bag is $1.99. (1 star)

365 Whole Foods Whole Wheat with Flax & Onion

The overpowering flavor of caramelized onion blasts the palate, leaving an unpleasant aftertaste that begs for mouthwash. 110 calories, 3 grams fat, 220 mg. sodium. An 18-ounce bag is $3.99. (No stars)

Reviews are based on product samples purchased by this newspaper or provided by manufacturers. Contact Jolene Thym at timespickyeater@gmail.com.