Kale chips vs. potato chips: Healthy version of a greasy snack

Leaf of kale

Leafy green kale is riding high among healthy eating lifestyle choices.

Kale, arguably one of the moment’s most popular super foods, has become famous as part of North America’s health craze. Though it isn’t the number one green vegetable in terms of nutritional value, kale is high in Vitamin A, as well as vitamin C, iron and antioxidants. Besides being packed with nutrients, kale is extremely low calorie, with about 36 calories per cup.

On its own, kale can taste bitter and is tough to chew, leaving some to wonder what the fuss is about. Kale is popular for health reasons, and with the need in North America for healthier eating habits, making use of mega-healthy veggies such as kale are starter steps toward cutting processed junk food. Swapping zero-nutrient snack foods for healthy options is an easy way to help lower body mass index, cholesterol and improve overall health, when combined with regular exercise. With adult obesity reaching historic highs in both Canada and the U.S., the concern over obesity-related illnesses, such as stoke and diabetes, increases.

The potato chip embodies the kind processed, unhealthy, fried “heaven” that has our snack-obsessed nation unable to stop after just one. While doctors say potato chips are not to blame for obesity, Frito-Lay brands make up 42 per cent of the salty snack category in the U.S., and in 2011 grossed over $13 billion in sales. The crispy treats are highly addictive and available everywhere, so it’s no surprise that chips are instrumental in North America’s obesity concerns.

Instead of consuming one 39g package of Miss Vickie’s Sea Salt and Malt Vinegar potato chips – a personal favourite – why not try one serving of baked kale chips, seasoned with sea salt and lemon juice? Kale chips are a popular preparation of the vegetable and a great on-the-go snack. Here are a few comparisons that illustrate the difference between potato chips and their kale counterparts:

  • One serving of Miss Vickie’s has 202 calories. One serving of kale chips has about 58 calories.
  • One serving of Miss Vickie’s contains about 15 per cent of your daily intake for sodium, while the kale variation has seven per cent.
  • Miss Vickie’s has 1.2g of saturated fat, kale has 0.4g.

As far as vitamins:

  • Miss Vickie’s has none of your daily vitamin A requirement, 16 per cent of your vitamin C requirement, two per cent of your daily calcium needs and five per cent of your iron requirement.
  • Kale Chips have 230 per cent of your daily vitamin A requirement, 149 of your vitamin C requirement and 13 per cent each of your daily calcium and iron requirements.

The only downside to eating kale chips is having to make them at home, but it is ridiculously easy. Wash one bunch of kale and tear the leaves (throw out the stems) into bite-size pieces. Rub the pieces with a tablespoon of olive oil, bake for 20 minutes on a baking sheet, then season with sea salt. Once crisped in the oven, kale is no longer bitter, surprisingly addictive and guilt-free. Use any preferred seasoning and store leftovers for a few days in an airtight container, if you can stop yourself from eating the entire batch in one sitting.

Full recipe instructions are here.

Alycia Sundar

Pocket sized fury. A west coast journalism student with a love for food and travel.

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