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 to make them crispy; they can be homemade or commercially prepared. Kale chip products may include other ingredients such as cashews, sunflower seeds, tahini, and seasonings.

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 nutrient-rich addition to your diet.

Kale Chip Nutrition Facts

The USDA provides the following nutrition information for one small single-serving bag (28g) of commercially prepared kale chips 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 1-ounce bag of kale chips, per USDA data. This serving contains about 3 grams of fiber and 1 gram of sugar. The rest of the carbohydrate in kale chips is starch.

However, keep in mind that the ingredients used to make the chips 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 1-ounce serving, while Brad's Crunchy Kale Chips provides 90 calories, 7 grams of carbohydrate, and 2 grams of fiber per 1-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 1-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 for frying or roasting the chips. According to USDA data, you are likely to consume about 1 gram of saturated fat in a 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 7.2mg or about 40% of your daily needs. And you'll get a small amount of vitamin C (4.79mg or about 8% of your daily needs) from kale chips.

The USDA does not provide additional micronutrient data for kale chips. But a 1-ounce (25g) serving of kale is an excellent source of vitamin K and calcium.

Calories

The calorie count for kale chips depends largely on preparation and additional ingredients. Kale itself, as a leafy green, is quite low in calories. If you roast kale yourself with just a drizzle of olive oil, your homemade kale chips will be low in calories. Commercially prepared chips have a calorie range of about 90 to 140 per ounce.

Health Benefits

Any health benefits you gain from consuming kale chips are 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.

Supports Bone Health

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 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 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 calcium needs in a 1-ounce serving. But Trader Joe's Nutritional Facts label says that a 1-ounce serving provides 10% of your daily needs. This variation may be due to the ingredients used to make the chips.

May Improve Cardiovascular Health

Research shows that kale and lentils, along with other foods are rich in prebiotic carbohydrates and dietary fiber, can potentially reduce risks of chronic diseases, including obesity, cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

Another study compared different vegetables to evaluate their benefits for heart health. Kale (along with broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and other leafy greens or cruciferous vegetables) provided the greatest cardiovascular health benefits.

Helps Improve Regularity

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 USDA's 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, adults should consume 22 to 34 grams of fiber per day depending on sex and age. 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 per serving, although it may vary by brand. Beta carotene supplementation has been associated with a decreased risk for vision loss related to aging.

Improves Liver Health

Plant foods—vegetables and fruits, specifically — play a supportive role in the function of the liver. Kale, in particular, contains resins, which help lower cholesterol and fat, allowing the liver to properly regulate blood sugar levels in the body.

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 kale, but published reports of kale allergy are rare.

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

Nuts and Seeds

Many 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.

Seed allergies are also a known issue. The AAAAI notes that poppy seed, sesame seed, mustard seed, and sunflower seeds may cause reactions and cross-reactions. If you have a known allergy to any seeds, seek your healthcare provider's guidance 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, you might 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

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. 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, 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. You can 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 food pattern.

To keep the fat content lower, bake or dehydrate the chips instead of frying. 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.

Wash and toss in a bowl with a tablespoon of olive oil. Add seasonings: cayenne pepper, nutritional yeast (for a cheesy flavor), sea salt, or whatever you prefer. Lay the leaves on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper.

Bake the leaves at 350 degrees for 10 to 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 side dish.

13 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. U.S. Department of Agriculture. FoodData Central.

  2. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Vitamin K: Fact sheet for health professionals.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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. doi:10.3390/nu7115471

  6. 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

  7. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Healthy food trends - kale.

  8. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Ninth Edition.

  9. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Vitamin A: Fact sheet for consumers.

  10. Guan YS, He Q. Plants consumption and liver health. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015;2015:824185. doi:10.1155/2015/824185

  11. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. Progressive pollen food syndrome.

  12. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. Everything you needed to know about tree nut allergy.

  13. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. Cross reactivity of seed allergens.

By Malia Frey
 Malia Frey is a weight loss expert, certified health coach, weight management specialist, personal trainer​, and fitness nutrition specialist.