We all know that eating our greens is good for us. I’m sure I’m not alone in being told by my parents as a child that if I ate my greens it would put hairs on my chest (um yeah mum like that was going to work!), or it would give me muscles like Popeye, or it would make me grow up big and strong, and it’s a lesson that continues to be passed on across the generations, as I now find myself telling my own children the very same things.
Fortunately for me, I love eating greens as do both my children, in fact ‘d even go so far as to say that they probably like eating them more than me. They both eat brussel sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, kale, lettuce and my daughter has even been known to chose a cucumber as her after school snack from the local greengrocers and then proceed to munch on it whilst on her scooter, much to the amusement of passers by.
Kale in particular has had it’s moment in the vegetable spotlight recently, with many nutritionists and fitness experts advocating the humungous health benefits of this leafy superfood and rightly so as it is one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet.
Just check out these nutritional stats!
Vitamin C is essential for maintaining healthy cells and connective tissues as well as helping the body to heal itself and just 1 cup of kale has more vitamin C in it than a whole orange.
Kale is a rich source of vitamin K, which is required for blood clotting and also helps the body heal itself.
This water soluble B vitamin helps form healthy red blood cells and also helps to reduce the risk of central nervous system defects, such as spina bifida, in unborn babies, which is why it is recommended to pregnant women or those trying to conceive.
Essential for healthy bone growth and development, kale contains more calcium per calorie than milk.
And if you thought that was impressive, kale also contains more iron per calorie than beef.
Combine all of this with the high content of fibre, omega fatty acids and antioxidants in kale along with the fact it’s low in fat, carbs and therefore calories, it is clear why we should all be welcoming these humble leafy greens into our kitchen, onto our plates and as part of our diets.
This is all well and good for people like me, who don’t have a problem with eating their greens, but what about those people who simply can’t face the intense taste of kale, or even those people who struggle to find the time to cook from scratch, how can they find a way to include kale in their daily diets?
Well, it is this very question that a couple from the Cotswolds, Georgie and James, found themselves asking and the answer resulted in them both quitting their jobs, travelling the world and coming back with fresh, healthy food ideas for products that could be eaten on the go, but still offered a high nutritional value.
LEAFY are dried kale crisps, packaged up as on the go snacks, in much the same way as a conventional packet of crisps, but without all the bad additives.
The most common type of kale is curly kale, however LEAFY use cavolo nero, a darker, flatter variety, which gives the crisps their deep, intense colour and shape. The leaves are slowly dried at low temperatures in order to retain all of their natural goodness.
There are currently two flavours available: Original and Vine Ripened Tomato & Oregano, both of which only contain natural ingredients and are suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
LEAFY kindly sent us a packet of both flavours to sample and what a treat it was to try them!
I decided to try the Original flavour first, to truly experience the simple, unadulterated taste of dried kale. The packaging is crisp and clean, very like the product itself, and I love the fact that you can see into the packet – a great message that what you see is what you get and that there is absolutely nothing to hide. The crisps themselves are very brittle, so would arguably need to be handled with more care than say your average potato based crisp. But do you know what, I like that they need to be handled with care as it gives them a more refined feel; a sense that you should eat them slower, with more deliberation and a chance to fully experience and delight in their taste. To me, they tasted very much like the crispy seaweed you get when you have a Chinese takeaway, but the big difference being there was no greasiness, no extreme saltiness and definitely no guilt factor.
Really, really yummy!
I somehow managed to stop myself from eating the whole packet and held some back for my lunch the next day and boy am I glad I did. I made myself a delicious Tricolore salad and scattered the remaining Original LEAFY kale crisps over the top to great result.
Just look at the picture!
The crisps added a lovely crunch to the salad, I guess in a similar way that croutons would, but I love the fact that these aren’t fried so by adding them to my salad I managed to add even more healthy nutrients. I can imagine they would work equally well scattered over soup; I make a mean spicy butternut squash soup that is literally crying out for some of these babies on top! And the Vine ripened tomato & Oregano flavour (which literally taste like you are eating freeze dried pizza) would be amazing sprinkled on a goats cheese and roasted veg pizza, or as an alternative to parmesan over a Spaghetti Bolognaise, or imagine mixing them into a cous cous salad in the summer.
Snack Time with LEAFY
We grabbed our packet of LEAFY and settled down for a chat with the LEAFY co-founders to find out more about their delicious kale crisps and to discover what they have planned for the future. Enjoy 🙂
Who are LEAFY?
“We are a young entrepreneurial couple with a shared love of food, the British countryside, and being a bit silly. James has a background in Physics and accountancy (loves to solve a problem and organize everything with spreadsheets!), but also has a creative side in freelance graphic design and photography. Georgie spent 6 years in business marketing & consultancy. She is very creative and loves coming up with new recipes and product ideas.”
How long has the company been running?
“We sold our first packs of LEAFY kale crisps at farmer’s markets in the Cotswolds in April 2015, but all the planning and preparation to get to that point started about a year beforehand.”
“It’s one of the most nutrient rich foods on the planet, full of vitamin C, iron, Vitamin K and folic acid. It’s grown widely in the UK so we can keep our ‘food miles’ low and support our wonderful British farmers. Kale has also received some great press in recent years, which is making more people aware of its benefits and will hopefully make our crisps more accessible to everyone. Finally, when we dry our Cavolo Nero (or Black Kale) it has a lovely, melting texture on the tongue and a really satisfying flavor. Delicious!”
What was the inspiration behind LEAFY?
“Green veg is great stuff. On top of all the nutrients, it’s extremely low in calories and at the same time satisfying. But munching on a piece of broccoli for your mid-morning snack is rather inconvenient; so we wanted to offer an easier option. After leaving our office jobs we travelled to various foodie locations around the world in search of inspiration, and eventually came across kale crisps. We instantly thought it was a great, simple, but tasty way to eat your greens on the go.”
Why the name LEAFY?
“Hopefully it represents our ethos and products – fun, light, natural. Plus our snacks are quite literally leaves at the moment, but we think it will carry well with the many other products we have in store.”
How many products do you have?
“There are obviously limitless possibilities for flavours so we had the general philosophy of starting with just two contrasting varieties (as a small business this makes everything MUCH easier). Essentially it was then months of trial and improvement to arrive at our first flavours: Original, which is very delicately seasoned (think Chinese crispy seaweed with much less sugar, fat and no MSG!) and Vine Ripened Tomato & Oregano, which has a big bold savoury flavour (rather similar to a fresh Margherita pizza!).”
Who is your target audience?
“Anyone who wants to enjoy a guilt-free snack. While they are convenient enough for a quick nutritious bite on-the-go, they are equally good enjoyed with a G&T and friends as a dinner party nibble! While our crisps are an innately healthy product, we want to make them a widely available alternative to other snacks, suitable for everyone. Hence, they are totally allergen free and vegan, with absolutely nothing artificial, ever.”
Do you eat LEAFY kale crisps?
“Yes, absolutely. We love to eat our kale crisps straight out of the packet, but they are great sprinkled on soups or salads for some extra crunch. Think – guilt free croutons! James also discovered if you really crumble them up, you end up with a really intense ‘kale seasoning’, which is great on anything!”
Where can I buy LEAFY?
“LEAFY products are available on our website www.leafyfoods.co.uk . We also distribute through Primal Snack Box, Lifebox and retail through several markets, shops and delis in The Cotswolds area. We are adding more retailers all the time, so the best way to find out where we’re stocked is to follow us on Facebook (@leafyfoods) or Instagram (@leafyfoods).”
What are your plans for the future?
“We’re currently expanding and improving the production side of the business, in order to meet demand and maintain the quality of our products. We also have exciting plans to add lots of other products to the LEAFY range. We’ve been busy experimenting in our kitchen with many other top secret ideas, which we plan to roll out in the next year. We’d love to create a whole range of snacks under the LEAFY brand.”
What is the ‘big dream’?
“To make LEAFY available to health-conscious adults and children worldwide.”
Describe LEAFY in three words.
“Natural, Fun, Quality”