Kale Chip Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Kale chips

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Kale chips are a crunchy snack made with kale leaves (Brassica oleracea). The dark green leaves are either fried, baked or dehydrated under low heat. Other ingredients such as cashews, sunflower seeds, tahini, and a variety of seasonings may also be used to give the chips their flavor. While kale chips used to be found only in health food stores, the snack is now commonly found in the snack aisle of most grocery stores.

Kale chips can be an excellent source of vitamin K and vitamin A. Depending on how they are prepared, kale chips may also be a significant source of fat, but consumed in moderation, this snack can be a healthy addition to your diet.

Kale Chip Nutrition Facts

There are many different brands of kale chips. The snack can also be made at home. Each variety includes different ingredients that will change the nutritional information. The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for one small single-serving bag (28g) of kale chips that are made with kale, sunflower seeds, white vinegar, nutritional yeast, and sea salt.

  • Calories: 140
  • Fat: 10g
  • Sodium: 380mg
  • Carbohydrates: 7g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Sugars: 1g
  • Protein: 7g

Carbs

There are 140 calories and 7 grams of carbohydrates in a single one-ounce bag of kale chips. A single one-ounce serving of kale chips contains about 3 grams of fiber and only 1 gram of sugar. The rest of the carbohydrate in kale chips is starch.

However, keep in mind that ingredients used to make the chips can vary from brand to brand. Different ingredients can change the nutrition facts substantially.

For example, Trader Joe's Kale Chips provides 120 calories, 12g of carbohydrate, and 2g of fiber per serving, while Brad's Crunchy Kale Chips provides 90 calories, 7 grams of carbohydrate, and 2 grams of fiber per one-ounce serving. Homemade kale chips may provide as little as 58 calories per serving.

The glycemic index (GI) of kale chips has not been recorded. But the glycemic load of a one-ounce serving of kale is estimated to be about 1, making it a very low-glycemic food. Glycemic load takes portion size into account when a food's impact on blood sugar is estimated. Adding oil to kale to make chips would not change the glycemic load.

Fats

There are about 10 grams of fat in a small bag of kale chips. The type of fat can depend on what type of oil is used to fry the chips. According to USDA data, you are likely to consume about 1 gram of saturated fat in serving of these chips. The rest of the fat is likely to be monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat.

Protein

A single serving of kale chips provides 7 grams of protein.

Vitamins and Minerals

USDA data shows that kale chips are an excellent source of vitamin A, providing about 3000 international units (IU) or about 60% of your recommended daily intake. The chips are also an excellent source of iron, providing 7.2 mg or about 40% of your daily needs. And you'll get a small amount of vitamin C (4.79 mg or about 8% of your daily needs) from kale chips.

The USDA does not provide additional micronutrient data for kale chips. But a one-ounce (25g) serving of kale is an excellent source of vitamin K and calcium.

Health Benefits

Any health benefit that you gain from consuming kale chips is likely to come from the nutrients in kale. The oil used to prepare the chips is most likely used in small enough quantities that it doesn't contribute any substantial benefits.

Healthy Weight Maintenance

Kale chips can be a healthier and lower-calorie alternative to other chips and crunchy snacks. But it depends on how the chips are prepared. For instance, one popular brand of kale chips provides about 130 calories and 10 grams of fat per serving. A comparable serving of potato chips provides 149 calories and about 9.5 grams of fat.

However, if you make kale chips at home, you can decrease the amount of fat used (by baking instead of frying) and use a healthier fat, such as olive oil. One popular recipe for kale chips provides only 58 calories per serving and 2.8 grams of fat.

Also, kale provides great nutritional benefits for those looking to reach and maintain a healthy weight. The fiber and protein in kale can help you to feel full and satisfied after eating. Research has shown that diets higher in vegetables are associated with greater weight loss.

Strong Healthy Bones

Vitamin K is important for good bone health. If you are deficient in vitamin K, you are at a higher risk for osteoporosis. Research on postmenopausal women has shown that vitamin K supplementation can have a positive impact on bone health.

Taking a supplement can increase your vitamin K intake, but getting it from food comes allows you to benefit from other nutrients, like calcium, that can also boost bone health. Researchers have identified kale as a food source of important bone-health nutrients.

Keep in mind that the amount of calcium that you get from consuming a serving of kale chips can vary. For example, one brand of chips (Brad's) states that you'll get about 4% of your daily needs of calcium when you consume a single one-ounce serving. But a different brand (Trader Joe's) provides a Nutritional Facts label stating that a one-ounce serving provides 10% of your daily needs. This variation may be due to the ingredients used to make the chips.

Cardiovascular Benefits

Researchers have studied kale and other foods identified as "superfoods" for the health benefits that they provide with regards to disease prevention. Authors of a study published in a 2015 issue of Nutrients stated that kale and lentils along with other foods are rich in prebiotic carbohydrates and dietary fiber can potentially reduce risks of non-communicable diseases, including obesity, cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

In addition, the authors of another research review compared different vegetables to evaluate their benefits for heart health. Kale (along with broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and other leafy greens or cruciferous vegetables) was listed as providing the greatest cardiovascular health benefits.

Better Bowel Health

The National Institutes of Health points out that the fiber in kale is important to help keep your bowel movements regular. A single serving of kale chips provides 3 grams of fiber. By comparison, a single serving of potato chips provides less than one gram of fiber.

According to the 2015-2020 USDA Dietary Guidelines, adults should consume at least 28 grams of fiber per day (although some adults should consume more). Kale chips can help you to meet that goal and provide other important nutrients.

Promotes Healthy Vision

The substantial vitamin A in kale chips helps to promote healthy vision. The type of vitamin A in kale is provitamin A and the most common type of this micronutrient is beta carotene. Kale chips may provide up to 2421mcg of beta carotene, although it may vary by brand. Beta carotene supplementation has been associated with a decreased risk for vision loss related to aging.

Allergies

There are a few different ingredients in kale chips that may cause allergy. If you have known allergies—especially nut allergies—you should check the ingredients list to be safe.

Kale

It is possible to be allergic to the main ingredient—kale—but published reports of kale allergy are rare.

There is at least one report of a woman with oral allergy syndrome having a reaction after consuming kale. Symptoms included swelling of the mouth and itching of nose, mouth, and eyes. Experts advise that if you suspect an allergy, to speak to your healthcare provider and possibly to avoid eating problematic foods in their raw form.

Nuts and Seeds

Many brands of kale chips list nuts (particularly cashews) and seeds (such as sunflower seeds) as primary ingredients. Allergies to nuts and seeds are well documented.

Those with a tree nut allergy should probably avoid kale chips. However, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI) just because you are allergic to one tree nut doesn't necessarily mean that you are allergic to another. The organization advises that symptoms of a tree nut reaction may be severe, so they advise that those with a known tree nut allergy carry epinephrine at all times.

Seed allergies are also a known issue. The AAAAI also notes that poppy seed, sesame seed, mustard seed, and sunflower seeds may cross-react. If you have a known allergy to any seeds, seek the guidance of your healthcare provider before consuming kale chips that include sunflower seeds as an ingredient.

Adverse Effects

It is not likely that you would experience adverse effects from consuming kale chips. If the chips are very salty and you over-consume them, it is not uncommon to feel bloated from the excess salt intake. You may also feel some stomach discomfort from the fiber if you eat a lot of them and are not used to eating high-fiber foods.

Varieties

There are many different brands of kale chips and many different flavors. For example, you might find nacho-flavored kale chips, spicy kale chips, sea salt kale chips, jalapeno kale chips, and even ranch-flavored kale chips. The chips can also be made at home with seasonings of your choosing.

When It’s Best

Kale is generally harvested in colder temperatures, usually in the fall or early winter. If you make kale chips at home, you may find the best ingredients at that time. But many grocers carry kale all year long.

Prepackaged kale chips are available all year long. You'll find them in the snack food aisle of the market.

Storage and Food Safety

How you store kale chips depends on how they are made. If you purchase kale chips at your grocery store, follow the guidance on the package. Most bags include a "best by" date. Generally, you can store the chips in your pantry for several weeks.

Kale chips do not require refrigeration and do not freeze well. Also, some packages include a desiccant packet—a small white package that absorbs moisture and helps the food to last longer.

If you make kale chips at home, you can keep them fresh by storing them in an airtight container. After you dehydrate, bake, or fry the chips, place them in a baggie or other resealable container and remove as much air as possible. Some people also put a few grains of rice in the container to absorb moisture and keep the kale chips crispy longer.

How to Prepare

If you want to make your own kale chips at home, you can control the ingredients and choose oils and seasonings that fit into your healthy food pattern.

To keep the fat content lower, baking or dehydrating the chips is the smartest choice. Use a food dehydrator to make the chips or simply bake kale leaves at a very low temperature.

To make the chips, start with large kale leaves. They will shrink when you bake them, so don't worry if the leaves seem too large when you begin. Remove the tough stems and tear each leaf in half or in thirds.

Once the leaves are prepared, wash them and then toss them in a bowl with a tablespoon of olive oil. Then, add your favorite flavors. Some people add cayenne pepper, nutritional yeast (for a cheesy flavor), sea salt, or whatever mix you prefer. Lay the leaves on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper.

Bake the leaves in an oven that has been preheated to 350 degrees for about 10-15 minutes or until they are crispy. After they have cooled, transfer the chips to an airtight container for storage or enjoy them as a snack or healthy side dish.

Recipes

Healthy Kale Recipes to Try

Kale chips are just one way to enjoy the nutritional benefits of kale. Consider any of these other recipes:

Was this page helpful?
Article Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Kale Chips. USDA FoodData Central. Updated 4/1/2019

  2. Tapsell LC, Batterham MJ, Thorne RL, O'Shea JE, Grafenauer SJ, Probst YC. Weight loss effects from vegetable intake: a 12-month randomised controlled trialEur J Clin Nutr. 2014;68(7):778–785. doi:10.1038/ejcn.2014.39

  3. Vitamin K. National Institutes of Health. February 2020.

  4. Fusaro M, Mereu MC, Aghi A, Iervasi G, Gallieni M. Vitamin K and boneClin Cases Miner Bone Metab. 2017;14(2):200–206. doi:10.11138/ccmbm/2017.14.1.200

  5. Price CT, Langford JR, Liporace FA. Essential nutrients for bone health and a review of their availability in the average North American dietOpen Orthop J. 2012;6:143‐149. doi:10.2174/1874325001206010143

  6. Migliozzi M, Thavarajah D, Thavarajah P, Smith P. Lentil and Kale: Complementary nutrient-rich whole food sources to combat micronutrient and calorie malnutritionNutrients. 2015;7(11):9285‐9298. Published 2015 Nov 11. doi:10.3390/nu7115471

  7. Blekkenhorst LC, Sim M, Bondonno CP, et al. Cardiovascular Health Benefits of Specific Vegetable Types: A Narrative ReviewNutrients. 2018;10(5). doi:10.3390/nu10050595

  8. Healthy food trends - kale. National Institutes of Health National Library of Medicine. Updated June 2, 2020

  9. Vitamin A. National Institutes of Health. Office of Dietary Supplements. Updated February 14, 2020

  10. Progressive Pollen Food Syndrome. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. 7/13/2017

  11. Everthing you needed to know about tree nut allergy. American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology. 

  12. Cross Reactivity of Seed Allergens. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. Reviewed February 24, 2020