“Mom, why is it that all of the snacks that taste good are bad for you?”, Thing 2 asked me, just the other day. Of course, he was not talking about fruit or yogurt or carrot sticks. Those are OK in his mind, but the snacks he really likes are the junky ones. The crispy, salty, munchy kind.
“Well, my darling child,” I replied, “Sadly, it is true that many of the snacks that you really like are not good for you. However, what if I could give you a something that tastes like a crispy, salty, munchy snack AND is actually nutritious?”
Thing 2 indicated that he would be interested in such a snack. Great!
So, I went to my friend Lisa’s blog, Jersey Girl Cooks, where she had posted a few weeks ago about kale chips. When I read her post, I thought to myself that kale chips seemed to have a lot of potential to be a great snack for the kids. I knew that the biggest hurdle might be getting them over the fact that the snack had started out as a leafy green, but I figured it was worth a shot.
The best part about kale chips is that kale is a nutritional powerhouse. Similar to broccoli and Brussels sprouts and other cruciferous vegetables, it provides a ton of Vitamins A, K, and C, as well as a bunch of B vitamins and a host of minerals and antioxidants. However, lesson to be learned from Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory, cruciferous veggies can be tough for some people to digest, so don’t overdo it if you are one of them! (Did anyone see that episode? It was hilarious!) Luckily for us, none of us in the family seem to have that challenge at the moment.
So, I forged ahead with my plan to get the kids to like this healthy snack. I made two versions of the kale chips. For the first version, I followed the recipe on Jersey Girl Cooks exactly. Click here to see it! This version uses chili powder as the seasoning. The result was a huge hit with the adults (myself and DH, and our neighbors who had popped over to hang out).
A couple of lessons learned came out of that batch. One, I needed to toss the kale around in the bowl a bit longer to get them well-coated with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar before sprinkling the seasoning, and then toss them around some more, so that all of the leaves would be consistently coated. And two, I realized that I needed to bump my oven temp up a little (my oven tends to run a little cooler than most) in order to make more of them really nice and crispy (a few in the first batch were still a little soft and chewy…although it didn’t stop anyone from eating them all up!)
While the first batch was a huge hit with the adults, the kids were not as thrilled. I was pretty sure that they were just not big fans of the chili powder. So, for the second batch, I substituted ½ tbsp of garlic salt instead of the 1 tbsp of chili powder. I also made an oven adjustment (baked at 360 instead of 350) and adjusted the baking time a bit as well (baked about 8 mins, then flipped the kale over and baked about 6 more minutes). The changes resulted in consistently light and crispy kale chips, with just enough garlic salt to be addicting, but not overly salty. The verdict? All adults present in the kitchen loved them, Thing 1 was thrilled, and Thing 2 said they were ‘pretty good’. SCORE!!
You can change these up in so many ways by using different seasonings. If you have trouble getting your kids to eat their veggies, you may want to try this as you get a lot of nutritional bang for your buck! Happy snacking!
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