6 min read
If you're looking for a flavorful, healthy snack that won't leave you feeling guilty after eating it, look no further than baked kale chips! Kale is an incredibly versatile ingredient that can be used in many different savory and sweet dishes.
Plus it isn't filled to the brim with fat and sodium like its potato cousin, making kale chips a far healthier alternative.
We could sing the praises of kale chips all day, just as many others have done before. But we think it's important you know it's not all sunshine with kale chips.
So in this short article, we'll cover the good and bad of kale chips, what each crunchy bite means for your health, and show you just how easy it is to make kale chips at home in a matter of minutes.
Many people wonder if kale chips are healthy only after consuming their body weight in kale during one sitting. But for those of you who haven't read SHEFIT's article that answers the question if kale chips are healthy, then we'll burst your bubble now.
Yes, kale chips can be healthy if prepared in a certain way and eaten in moderation. So if you were holding your breath that whole time, now's the moment to exhale.
This post won't go too deeply into the medical science of kale chips, as that's already been covered. Instead, we'll focus more on the holistic view with morsels of health sprinkled on top, much like the amount of salt you should put on kale chips...
In terms of the good things about kale chips, let's just acknowledge straight away that they're delicious. With that out of the way, here's what you need to know about this mighty green.
In the long run, replacing high-calorie snacks (looking at you potato chips) with kale chips can be a helpful component to losing weight. That's because kale chips are more nutrient-dense and less calorie-dense.
That's a fancy way of saying they help you feel full with less calories.
Now, if you start throwing vegetable oil and pounds of salt on a chip you'll see different results. But if you bake them with light olive oil and a dash of salt, and eat them as a replacement for junk food, then you can bank on kale chips being part of your weight loss journey.
Preparing kale chips the right way includes using olive oil, which is a heart-healthy fat that lowers the bad cholesterol and increases the good kind. It's good on its own but becomes great when you use kale chips as a replacement for potato chips.
That's because substituting olive oil, a source of monosaturated fats AKA "good" fats by nutritionists,for your usual trans-fat-filled snacks will improve your cardiovascular condition.
Carrots get the limelight for improving eyesight, but kale in raw or baked form deserves far more praise for eye health. Here's why:
One cup of kale contains up to 206 percent of your daily vitamin A, which helps protect the surface of the eye.Okay so carrots have a little bit more vitamin A than kale, but this isn't the only way to improve eye health.
Kale is a prime source of the nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin, which reduce the risk of eye diseases that may come with age, such as macular degeneration.This is important because our bodies can't naturally produce either nutrient; the only way to get either is from the food you eat.
Kale Fun Fact: Eating kale chips can help you get more vitamins A, C, and K into your diet along with magnesium, iron, calcium, and potassium.
The amount of nutrients in a bunch of kale has immense benefits including antioxidants, which are valuable for your overall well-being and can prevent and fight off cardiovascular diseases, inflammation, and even cancer.
In addition to Vitamin A (praised above), kale contains two other main vitamins including 684 percent of your daily intake of vitamin K per cup. This promotes proper blood clotting. Kale also contains vitamin C, which acts as a powerful antioxidant.
Oh, and don't forget that kale is rich in fiber, which aids in digestion. It contains iron, protein, potassium, and more calcium than a glass of milk. We're rambling now, but dark leafy green is a powerhouse for health, huh?
Although the list of good could be endless, facing reality by highlighting the negatives is the next step.
Let's be super clear on this part - the bad part of kale chips is entirely related to how you prepare them and your self-control. Baked and consumed correctly, you have nothing to worry about. For the curious, here's what can happen without restraint.
You may have heard that eating too many kale chips can cause kidney stones, and there are two sides to this story. But while there's a lot of back and forth on whether kale chips can cause kidney stones, there's still good reason to not overconsume kale chips. That would be fiber.
Kale contains a large amount of fiber, which is great for digestion but can be dangerous if you eat too much. If you overeat on kale chips (or any food) then you may experience bloating, gas, and constipation due to the excessive intake of fiber. Mindful eating shouldn't be isolated to kale chips, but it should certainly be observed.
While kale chips may seem like a healthier option, some commercial brands can be crammed with sodium, sugar, and artificial flavors. This is the kind of processed food that can lead to a higher risk for high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and other cardiac issues.
Next time you find yourself tempted by kale chips at the grocery store, read the nutrition facts first. Or better yet, grab some kale from the vegetable section and make your own at home.
To make kale chips:
In less than 5 minutes of prep, and 15 minutes of waiting, you are the proud owner of a healthy snack that's great for weight management, your heart health, vision, and even your wallet.
Kale Fun Fact:You can purchase a bunch of kale for typically less than a bag of kale chips at the store.
It's crazy to imagine, but eating raw kale even has some health risks. This is of course related to going overboard with how much you eat, but facts you should know nonetheless.
Still, containing a copious amount of nutrients, just like any food, going overboard can have its downsides, effectively turning its benefits into risks.
You probably noticed these are quite similar to the downsides of kale chips. Baking kale does adjust some of the properties, but raw or baked, it's always a good idea to have a variety of fruits and veggies in your diet, including kale.
And of course, embracing moderation works like a charm.
Our verdict is that homemade baked kale chips should be a replacement tool for the bad kind of chips in your life. An extra 10-15 minutes to prep and bake a bunch of kale chips has more benefits than negatives for your health.
At the end of the day, it's all about the context in which you consume your kale chips. Eating a few chips won't hurt, but eating a few bags is ill-advised, to say the least.
So preheat the oven, it's time for a delicious alternative to potato chips!