Taste Test: Kale Chips

kale chips

Healthy Eats

Photo by: Stephen Johnson ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Stephen Johnson, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Crunchy versions of this leafy green vegetable are taking the chip aisle by storm. There's no doubt  kale is delicious and nutritious -- but do its dried spin-offs live up to the hype?
The Criteria

We rated these leafy snacks on a 5-point scale (5 being highest) and judged them on taste, texture, price and nutrition, with special attention paid to stats such as calories and sodium. All of the brands were vegan and gluten-free, but none contained only kale. Most featured various spices and nuts, so it's worth reading labels carefully, particularly for anyone who has food allergies.

Rating: 4.5
Cost (per ounce) $4.49

Nutrition Info (1 ounce) 130 calories; 6 grams of fat; 270 milligrams sodium

The Healthy Eats Take: These bright green chips tasted more like kale than any of the other contenders. The "Sweet" variety has a touch of coconut and maple syrup for added flavor and crunch. On the downside, the chips are the most expensive of the bunch.

Rating: 4
Cost (per ounce) $3.19

Nutrition Info (1 ounce): 132 calories; 9 grams of fat; 146 milligrams sodium

The Healthy Eats Take: Sprinkled with vegan cheese, sunflower seeds and cashews, these chips got points for being flavorful without being overly salty. Also in their favor: full-size chips and a good level of crispiness. The brand is also certified organic.

Rating: 4
Cost (per ounce) $2.99

Nutrition Info (1 ounce): 180 calories; 10 grams of fat; 200 milligrams sodium

The Healthy Eats  Take: We sampled a few of the flavors, including Pineapple Coconut and Kool Ranch (all have similar nutrition info). The flavor was good -- lots of suggestions of fresh kale -- but there wasn't quite enough crunch. Flavorings include sunflower seeds, lemon juice, tahini, honey and carrot powder and other spices.

Rating: 2.5
Cost (per ounce) $2.66

Nutrition Info (1 ounce) 138 calories; 10 grams of fat; 375 milligrams sodium

The Healthy Eats Take: Crunchy but super salty, these chips are crusted with an unappetizing coating of seasoning. The ingredient list is simple enough -- kale, sunflower seeds, nutritional yeast and salt -- but a fair amount of the latter; this brand was the highest in sodium among the group.

Rating: 2
Cost (per ounce) $2.72

Nutrition Info (1 ounce) 80 calories; 6 grams of fat; 230 milligrams sodium

The Healthy Eats Take: Although lowest in calories and fat, the very small pieces were hard to chew and tasted stale -- a definite turn-off. Offerings for the brand include creative varieties such as Tarragon Dijon and Hibiscus & Pink Peppercorn -- but the flavors didn't deliver.

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.

Next Up

Taste Test: Jarred Spaghetti Sauce

Sometimes there’s no time to whip up a batch of homemade tomato sauce. We checked out some of the popular supermarket tomato sauces -- Rao's, Newman's Own, Trader Joe's, Prego and Barilla -- to see how they measured up.

Doritos Launches a Line of Dips That Taste Like Your Favorite Chip Flavors

The Spicy Nacho and Cool Ranch Jalapeno dips can also be paired with pizza, pretzels, vegetables, wings and more.

Taste Test: Beyond Tortilla Chips

These chips are made with a variety of healthy ingredients and are pretty darn tasty.

Taste Test: Baked Potato Chips

Looking for a lighter crunchy option for a weekend picnic or lunch at the office? We polled our Facebook fans and tested their favorite brands of baked potato chips.

Taste Test: Hummus

Hummus can be the perfect party food, a quick afterschool snack or a preamble to dinner with friends. With so many options at the grocery store, which brands stack up?

Taste Test: Mayonnaise

We taste tested 5 different kinds of mayonnaise and analyze taste, texture, nutritional info and price.

Taste Test: Salsa

Which brand of salsa is the best tasting and has the best nutrition? Get an RD's picks before your next fiesta.

Taste Test: Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

There are so many brands of this lunch box classic. Which is best for snacking?

Taste Test: Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mixes

We gave these mixes a whirl, and here’s what we found.

Taste Test: Light Beer

Cold beer just tastes better during the hot, steamy summertime. Light beers get a bad wrap on the flavor front, so we tested five popular brands (including the most requested ones from our Facebook fans) to see which brew tasted best. It was a hard job, but someone had to do it! Check out how your favorite brand measured up.