Kids and Kale Chips

A couple of weeks ago Food Network posted an article to their Facebook page called, “8 Kids’ Foods That Sound Healthy ButKalechips Aren’t.” As the title suggests, the list consisted of processed and prepackaged foods that aren’t healthful despite being marketed that way. Boy did it cause an uproar! Many of their posts get thousands of likes and some even get 100+ comments, but this post got nearly 6,000 likes and 503 comments. The comments ranged from “Of course these aren’t healthy” to “Oh, no! I just fed these to my kid.” However, there was a huge number of negative comments condemning Food Network for pushing the “healthy foods agenda,” judging parents, and being out of touch with what kids will really eat.

Many people chimed in to ask “What are you supposed to feed your kid?” as if there aren’t any alternatives to prepackaged foods. I get it though. Our culture is so conditioned to eat manufactured food produced by big food companies that it is almost unimaginable to go without them or even suggest that they might not be good for us. One comment stated, “Oooooo spare me. The only thing that makes kids unhealthy and obese is the electronics they spend all day glued to.” Sure, a sedentary lifestyle contributes to the development of chronic illnesses, but you cannot discount the impact of diet. In fact, when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight, a healthful and nutritious diet actually trumps exercise.

A large number of parents took the time to write that their children just won’t eat fresh fruits and vegetables. And kale chips? Kale chips were definitely out of the question! Many refused to “starve” their children so they give in and let their children have their favorite unhealthy snack foods.

Here’s the truth, not every kid is going to eat kale chips, but they might if given the chance. It may take more than one exposure before they develop a taste for a particular food. Even as an adult, I used to gag whenever I ate a sweet potato, now I love sweet potatoes and yams. When you begin to eat more real food, your palate adjusts and you begin to crave more real food.

The more you eat processed foods, the more you want processed foods. In fact, processed foods are created to be highly palatable. They are full of salt, sugar, and fat–which we love! They are actually quite addictive, which is one of the reasons why the whole “everything in moderation” argument doesn’t always work. It is no accident that the Pringles tag line is, “Once you pop, you can’t stop” and why Lays says, “betcha can’t eat just one.”

Here’s the simplest solution, if you don’t buy them in the first place, you remove the temptation to over-indulge and your kids know that they aren’t getting those foods no matter how much they protest because there aren’t any to get. This removes the struggle.

On a side note, I’ll also add that when you’re managing a potato allergy and celiac/gluten sensitivities, you quickly learn that potato chips, crackers, and even “veggie” chips aren’t going to be players in your diet. Kids will not go hungry if they can’t get their hands on the most popular snack foods.

My oldest daughter is in the “won’t touch a kale chip” camp but she loves fruit and she knows she is not going to get certain processed foods no matter how many times she asks. The result: she rarely asks for junk and eats mostly real whole foods. My other two daughters like kale chips. My youngest daughter actually loves them! She even sneaks them when I’m not looking.KalechipsRd

If you want your kids to eat better, feed them better and don’t give into their demands for junk. It really is that simple. It’s okay to have treats occasionally, but do make sure the majority of their diet comes from real whole foods that are produced from the earth, not a factory. And if you decide you do want to experiment with kale chips, they are about the easiest thing you can make.

Here’s all you need to make kale chips:

1 bunch of kale

2 tbsp of olive oil or coconut oil

sea salt

garlic powder

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Rinse the kale. Pull the kale leaves from the stems and place in a large bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and garlic powder to taste. Mix with your hands to make sure the kale is evenly covered, then place on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the kale is crispy. Enjoy!

I’d love to hear your thoughts and how you incorporate healthy snacks into your diet. Feel free to leave a comment below.

About Tiffany deSilva

Hi I'm Tiffany deSilva, MSW, CPC, CHC, Founder of BrightFire Living, LLC. I am a social worker, speaker, author, certified health, wellness and lifestyle coach, certified green living coach and toxic-free consultant. I am passionate about helping women like you to detox each area of your life, safeguard your family's health, and live life fully charged and completely lit up! I am on a mission to empower women and families who are managing food allergies, autoimmune disorders, and other modern chronic health conditions to live a safe, happy, and healthy life that truly lights your fire!

Feedback & Comments:

  1. It’s great to hear that these thought-provoking questions are being asked

    And yes to …”eat real whole foods that are produced from the earth, not a factory!”

    I personally love kale chips but have an issue with oxalates so can’t eat them right now – boo hoo!

  2. Tiffany the kale chips actually sound delicious to me! Thank you for sharing the recipe. I am in complete agreement with your comment that processed foods and sugar are very addictive. I also agree with keeping those foods out of the house altogether! I’m sure you are as amazed at the rate of childhood obesity as I am!

    • Tiffany deSilva says:

      Thanks, Mary Ellen! I hope you enjoy the kale chips. I agree, the rate of obesity (and chronic illness) for both children and adults is quite shocking.

  3. My mom was way before her time… no junk food or soda allowed in my house. No fast food. I did get my fill at certain friends’ houses and camp, but overall I am a healthy eater today because of the way I was raised. When I was told by wonderful nutritionist, Trudy Scott, to cut out caffeine and processed sugar because it was affecting my sleep and overall health, I discovered that fruit I never liked suddenly tasted delicious!!! Your palette does change. An apple with peanut butter now has me feeling like I’m indulging in a Resses Peanut Butter Cup… it’s all good! And I LOVE Kale chips!!!

    • Tiffany deSilva says:

      That’s fantastic, Jessica! I love that your mom didn’t allow junk food or soda in the house. You were lucky that you weren’t taught to view processed food as the norm.

  4. You are speaking my language! One of the biggest shifts
    we made was throwing away the peanut butter. We switched
    to Almond Butter with nothing else in it but the almonds.
    Initially we missed our peanut butter. Now it would probably
    gross us out!

    • Tiffany deSilva says:

      Thanks, Mitch! It’s interesting to see how healthful choices become second nature after awhile.

  5. Thanks for this recipe, Tiffany. I have a similar recipe using the kale plus a tablespoon each of olive oil, raw honey, apple cider vinegar, plus salt to taste.

    My kids love these kale chips!

    P.S. It’s surprising how many parents forget that 100 years ago most of the processed junk now marketed to children – didn’t even exist!

    • Tiffany deSilva says:

      Hi Brynn, thanks for stopping by! Your recipe sounds tasty too! I love apple cider vinegar on my greens. I agree, it is surprising how many parents view processed junk food as essential. Hopefully, we can shift that view a bit.

  6. Thanks for raising awareness of this important topic. Kale chips sound great. I’m going to try this recipe.

  7. I LOVE kale chips. Steamed kale with garlic is also fabulous and putting kale in morning shakes can be a good way to slip in the nutrients. :)

  8. Can’t agree with you more about the addiction. I tried an experience recently with my kids. I didn’t buy very many processed items. Then, I bought crackers, ice cream, pudding, etc. and waiting to see if anyone noticed I did not purchase fresh fresh fruit or salad. Can you guess what happened? No one noticed, they kept on eating the junk!!!

    I did a major trash toss tonight so reading this blog validates I’m on the write path. Keep up the great work. I really enjoy what you do and how you do it.

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