Think All Kale Chips Are Healthy? Think Again

09/23/2013 at 01:41 PM ET

Yoela Chaveco-Cabrera/Getty

Lisa Lillien is the author of the popular Hungry Girl website and email newsletter, featuring smart, funny advice on guilt-free eating.

She is also the author of eight Hungry Girl cookbooks, five of which debuted at number one on the 
New York Times Best Sellers list. Read her blog every Monday for slimmed-down celebrity recipes and more. 

Celebrities like Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston and Anne Hathaway are all huge fans of kale. I’m a huge fan of kale. But lately, food manufacturers have gone a little nutso trying to find ways to create “healthy” kale snacks.

And to be quite honest, I think they’ve failed. While kale itself is extremely nutritious—it’s loaded with vitamin K, has about 3 grams of protein per cup and has been linked to cancer prevention—packaged kale chips are another story.

Next time you’re at the market, flip over a few bags and see for yourself. Most of them are loaded with fat and have stats similar to potato chips! Plus, the serving sizes are crazy small. One little bag I saw contained 440 calories and 36 grams of fat! To do that to a 32-calories-a-cup superfood really should be illegal.

But until there’s an official lobby for kale abuse laws, it’s better to buy the veggie raw and make your own low-cal snacks and meals. Here are some of my favorite ways to use kale:

1. Lay 2 cups of kale leaves on a baking sheet sprayed with olive-oil nonstick spray. Mist the leaves with the spray, then sprinkle them with salt. Bake at 425 degrees until crispy, 5-8 minutes. That’s it! The whole batch has fewer than 75 calories and around 1 gram of fat.

2. Next time you make a salad, chop up kale leaves and mix them in with your favorite greens—or shortcut it with a kale-included bagged salad mix.

3. Toss kale leaves into your favorite fruit smoothie recipe (Gwyneth Paltrow does this!). You won’t even taste the kale, but will get all the benefits.

4. Add some kale to your favorite broth-based soup and simmer until the leaves are tender.

Kale is delicious, and it truly deserves its superstar status. Just beware of the food fakers out there. ‘Til next time, chew the right thing…


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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms
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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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On a clear day, you can see forever—or at least that’s the wicked thought behind L.A. designer Agi Berliner’s transparent idea: see-through jeans. Exhibitionists notwithstanding, most folks wear them over bathing suits or as attention-getting evening wear with halters, garter belts and body stockings. Created for the disco crowd, the $34 jeans are selling like, well, hot pants. In just six weeks, 25,000 pairs have already been sold in such major department store chains as Macy’s, Bonwit’s and Saks.

“What’s limiting American designers is that we’re afraid to do something different,” says Berliner, 32, a Hungarian émigré who fled with her family to the U.S. in 1956. Agi thought up the gimmick in London while marveling at the way plastics were being employed by designers of punk fashion. In her L.A. office, where she designs for La Parisienne junior sportswear, Agi spent five days on the phone and six weeks testing to come up with the right plastic.

Agi herself tried out the French-cut jeans with the zipper in front, and quickly found several problems: Some plastics tore away from stitching, others wouldn’t bend and all fogged with perspiration. The ideal material proved to be a vinyl supplied by a bookbinder. The steam was eliminated with a series of vents behind the knees and in the crotch. “They’re no hotter than polyester pants,” claims Agi, “and if you wear them with tights, they won’t stick to your legs.”

Whatever the discomfort and despite the problem of Saturday night feverishness, discomaniacs report one major advantage of the plastic pants: no laundry bills. To keep Berliner’s see-through jeans clear, all the wearer needs is a little Windex.

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