If you haven’t tried it yet, kale is a super food that you should include in your menu planning. It’s inexpensive and yet full to the brim of the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants your body needs to stay healthy.
Kale—also known as a cruciferous vegetable—is actually considered one of the most nutrient packed vegetables available and ranks up there with cabbage, broccoli, collard greens, brussels sprouts and more.
What is kale?
Second cousin to the domestic cabbage, kale is a vegetable made up of edible leaves. While it doesn’t form a head in the center, like its cousin, the green or purple leaves that make up this plant are chock full of edible goodness.
What’s so great about kale?
- It’s high in fiber and water, so if your workout routine includes plans for weight loss, kale is the perfect food to help you achieve your goals.
- It’s high in antioxidants, including beta-carotene, vitamin C and several flavonoids and polyphenols.
- Kale produces bile acids that work in the body to digest fats and help control cholesterol.
- The extraordinary amount of vitamin K is essential for the body as it is how you produce natural blood clotters.
- Many of the minerals kale contains, including magnesium and potassium, play an important role in preventing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, lower blood pressure and more! It also contains lutein, which helps prevent eye (macular) degeneration and cataracts.
- It contains more nutrients in a single cup, relative to its calorie count, than most any other vegetable!
How to add kale to your diet!
Here are some easy ways to add kale to your diet, every week:
Add kale to your pizza — Either top your pizza with kale, as you would with other greens or add it to a pesto base for a tasty pizza you won’t be able to get enough of!
(For about 1 ½ cups)
- 3 cups packed kale with the ribs removed and roughly chopped
- ¾ cup of walnuts (pecans also work here!)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic, depending on your taste
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, based on your preference
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Put the kale, nuts, lemon juice, garlic, salt pepper into a food processor. Turn it on and drizzle in the oil. When you’ve reached your desired consistency, scrape down the sides to make sure you get all the good bits. Taste the pesto and add more lemon juice, salt or pepper, as you prefer.
Kale salad — You can do this however you want, but here’s a couple of suggestions!
Kale and quinoa salad: Take ½ a bunch of kale (small bunch), and add in some cooked quinoa. After that, you can add whatever you like, such as: shredded carrot, shredded radish, seeds or nuts, sliced avocado, green onions, julienned bell pepper, cheese and so on. Then all you need is a light dressing, made from olive oil, lime juice and salt and pepper.
Add kale to curry — If you’re a fan of red or green curry, you can add a handful of chopped kale in the last 10 minutes of the cooking process for a vitamin hit!
Kale guacamole — Who doesn’t love a good guac recipe? Add some finely chopped and de-ribbed kale to your favorite guacamole or dip, at a ratio of one leaf per avocado!
TIP: Kale can be a little bitter when eaten raw but you can soften the flavors by following these steps:
- Cut up your kale for however you plan to use it and put it in a bowl.
- Add a sprinkle of salt and a squirt of lime juice. Mix this well.
- Squeeze the kale in your hands until the leaves turn dark green and a little softer.
Now you have everything you need to know to add this super food to your diet and get all the benefits to help keep you healthy and fit!