Better Choice: Kale Chips vs. Potato Chips

Potato chips are very high in bad fats, salt, refined carbs, and calories—making them a top food leading to obesity. In fact, one study even found them to be the number one food most likely to cause weight gain! 

While boiled or baked potatoes in moderation can certainly be part of a healthy diet, their fried counterparts (like potato chips and French fries) cannot. Furthermore, they are almost impossible to not overeat, especially due to their high salt content. 

Kale, on the other hand, is a completely different story. 

What’s So Great About Kale? 

Kale is a dark, leafy green vegetable that basically defines “superfood.” It is part of the cruciferous family, and perhaps one of the healthiest vegetables available, calorie for calorie. It is high in fiber, contains over 10 times the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin K, twice the RDA for vitamin C, and three times the amount for vitamin A. Kale is also impressively rich in potassium, and contains the key cancer-fighting compound Indole-3-Carbinol (also found in broccoli). 

Kale is best consumed lightly steamed or sautéed, but can also be made into a raw salad by massaging it for a few minutes in a healthy oil, such as olive or flax oil, in order to soften the leaves.  

What probably comes as a surprise is that kale can also be turned into tasty chips that make an excellent alternative to potato chips. While you might have seen these sold in health food stores over recent years, but you can also make them easily (and much more cost effectively) right in your own kitchen. 

Health Benefits of Kale 

One of the Best Sources of Vitamin C 

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that is important for immune support and collagen production, among other important bodily functions. Cup for cup, kale has 5 times the amount of vitamin C of spinach, and more than an orange.  

Lowers Cholesterol 

Kale and other cruciferous vegetables (brussels sprouts, cabbage and broccoli, for example) have the unique ability to bind bile acids in the digestive tract, which has been shown to lower levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. One study even found that drinking kale juice for 3 months significantly raised participants’ HDL (“good”) cholesterol and lowered their LDL. 

Packed Full of Antioxidants 

Aside from vitamin C, kale also boasts quercetin and beta carotene, along with potent flavonoids and polyphenols, all which offer their own unique health benefits. Including antioxidant rich foods in your diet is essential for fighting oxidative damage caused by free radicals, which has been linked to a long list of diseases.  

Cancer-Fighting 

Among the diseases that can be supported (or prevented) with antioxidants is cancer. While the impressive amount of antioxidants in kale naturally makes it a good food to include in an anti-cancer diet, it also contains two compounds known to prevent cancer, sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol.   

How to Make Kale Chips 

Crunchy and tasty kale chips are surprisingly easy to make, especially if you happen to have a food dehydrator. However, most of us don’t, and the oven works well, too. Check out this recipe to include this delicious and nutritious snack in your diet today. 

Crispy Kale Chips Recipe

Ingredients: 

  • 2 bunches kale  
  • 2 tbsp olive or coconut oil 
  • 2 tsp salt 
  • *other seasonings of your choice! 

Instructions: 

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line two baking trays with parchment paper. 
  2. Using a knife or just your hands, de-stem your kale and break it into small, bite-size pieces. Wash and be sure to dry very thoroughly, as wet kale won’t become crispy when you bake it. 
  3. Drizzle the kale with oil and seasonings, and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the edges are crispy (check periodically to avoid burning).  

For those of you who have a food dehydrator, check out this recipe for another method of making kale chips. Either way you prepare them, your whole family is sure to be impressed, not to mention this is a great way to sneak some extra veggies into a picky kiddo’s diet. Enjoy!