Monday, January 21, 2013

Kale Chips

Kale chips are my new, favorite snack.  Our meals and snacks are mostly whole food, plant-based, but every now and then I still want to snack on something thin and crispy- like potato chips.  However, I don't like the way I feel afterwards.  Enter kale chips.  These are light, quick and easy to prepare and they satisfy that need to crunch.  Also, kale is a nutritional powerhouse.  Check out these stats:

One cup of raw kale =
33 calories
5% RDA fiber
2g of protein
9% RDA calcium
6% RDA iron
206% RDA vitamin A
134% RDA vitamin C

source:  Self Nutrition Data

Plus, there's an added bonus. The British Journal of Nutrition published a study titled Association of dietary fat, vegetables and antioxidant micronutrients with skin ageing in Japanese women in May of 2010. This study showed that "A higher intake of green and yellow vegetables was significantly associated with a decreased Daniell wrinkling score". Wow! Eating more green and yellow vegetables will decrease those crows feet! I'm sold!

Kale chips are so easy to make that there's no need to buy the pricier pre-made ones.

1.  Take a bunch of kale, cut the leafy part off the ribs, and cut the leaves into relatively uniform shapes (throw the ribs in your garden or compost pile!).

2.  Wash and dry kale leaves (a salad spinner is an excellent tool for this).

3.  Lay leaves out on a cookie sheet (you may want to use parchment paper to prevent sticking) or microwave chip maker.  Season to taste (I like a light sprinkling of sea salt).

4.  Bake in a 350 degree oven or microwave (2-3 minutes) until crisp, but not burnt.

5.  Serve!

This is also an excellent way to preserve an abundance of fresh kale. I've stored kale chips in glass jars or Tupperware containers and then added the kale chips to soups and stews. Yum!

Speaking of not liking how I feel after eating a bunch of potato chips, I came across this quote recently:  "Nothing tastes as good as healthy feels."  As someone who has been following a mostly (we did just go through the holidays) whole foods, plant-based diet since mid-summer, I can say that this is true for me.  I feel better and I have effortlessly reached a healthy weight.  I mentioned the holidays.  I admit that over the holidays I indulged in some of the traditional foods.  Did my taste buds enjoy the rich fare?  Sure.  But it wasn't worth the heaviness that I felt (for days) after.  This year we plan to keep our holidays whole food, plant-based.  However, we will not be sacrificing taste!  There are many delicious plant-based recipes out there.  We're even creating some of our own.  I'll share as I am able, so keep checking back to see what our latest culinary adventures have been!

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