Growing up, I think most of us heard our mom say, “Eat your veggies!”
We were all pretty sure she was right but didn’t really know why. Veggies in general, and kale in particular, have a powerful place in our diet.
For example, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a non-profit consumer advocacy group, took the challenge of finding the most nutritious vegetable. They rated vegetables based on many nutrients, including calcium, iron, folate and fiber.
Kale, followed by the first and second runner-up — collard greens and spinach.
The Benefits of Kale
Kale is full of antioxidants and phyto-chemicals which are known for their cancer fighting properties.
Kale is packed with omega-3’s which provide us with the anti-inflammatory benefits we need to lower our risk of chronic inflammation. Kale is also a good source of calcium, folate, lutein, fiber and vitamins A, C, E and K. There’s even some protein in there.
I think a hindrance for many people when it comes to consuming kale is they simply do not know how to prepare it.
The first step in kale preparation is to clean it.
A quick, easy way to wash the kale is to put it in a big bowl, fill it with cold water and let it soak a bit. The stem which runs down the middle of the leaf can be removed before or after cleaning. Before cooking, tear the kale into bite-size pieces (or bigger, if you like), and lightly steam.
This is quick and easy.
The less you cook the kale the more nutrients you will retain. Add some steamed red peppers along with a little balsamic vinegar and you have a great little dish!
Your non-stick skillet is another helpful tool in preparing your kale or even cooking a skillet of greens.
Sauté a little garlic in the pan, throw in your kale and collard greens over medium heat and cook until desired tenderness. Add some fresh spinach near the end, (as it cooks faster), sprinkle on a little garlic salt if you like and eat!
Have you heard of roasted kale?
It is yummy and crunchy!
Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees. Fill a baking pan with bite-sized pieces of kale and bake approximately 20 minutes, turning the kale over after the first 10 minutes. Seasoning is optional as it is delicious plain. This can be eaten as a snack food or served as a side dish.
Last, but not least, do you drink smoothies?
Throw in a little kale! The mechanical action of the blender will help break down the cellulose for easier digestion. You won’t even taste the added greens but your body will still benefit from the extra dose of nutrients.
Your mom would be proud.