Currently one of the biggest snack crazes is kale chips, and why not? A crispy leaf that is touted as a super food ... I'm in! But are kale chips all that? Well, they can be.
The snack aisles are filled with snacks that draw us in with their attention-grabbing packaging that scream 'HEALTHY' without actually saying it. Using words like 'Gluten Free' and 'Baked' or 'No Trans Fat'. None of this means healthy.
Kale itself is quite nutritious- high in vitamin K, about 3 grams of protein per cup and it has been linked to cancer prevention.
But, to really understand what is in that kale chip package you are about to ingest, you need to stop looking at the front of the package. Rather turn the package around and look at the ingredients. You might be surprised what you see! Many of the packages you will find are loaded with fats and other stats that rival those of potato chips. How many ingredients can you pronounce and explain what it is and how many can't you? Considering kale is really low calorie (like just over 30 calories per cup), many of these packages boost over 400 calories in a single serving. While I don't promote calorie counting, doesn't this seem just a bit out of line?
It's important to note that the idea of opening a package is easier than turning on the oven for many people. The truth is that being healthy does take a little work and preparation is a key factor. Many of my clients find, or rekindle, an interest in cooking after we have worked together.
However, if you are using your oven to store winter sweaters and just aren't going to make your own chips, here are a few tips on what to look for when you do purchase them.
1. Always skip the front of the package, go directly to the back
2. Look at the ingredients - anything you can't pronounce or don't want to eat?
3. How do the nutritional facts stack up? Look at the sugar and sodium content. How about the saturated fats and trans fat?
For those wishing to keep their kale chips as healthy, unprocessed and cheap as possible while still having the ability to control the flavor, I recommend trying out my recipe for these deliciously addictive Cheesy Miso Cashew Kale Chips. It takes a little longer than just grabbing a bag off the shelf but your body will be happier for it!