With the recent controversy surrounding Bo Muller-Moore and his website eatmorekale.com, I decided it was only appropriate to post about why you really SHOULD eat more kale.
Kale is a nutritional powerhouse, with one cup raw kale packing more than 100% the DRI (dietary reference intake) for Vitamins A and K, nearly all of your daily Vitamin C, loads of potassium, and antioxidants and flavenoids (carotene, zeaxanthin, lutein, quercetin, and many others), all of which promote immunity and eye health, decrease inflammation, and also keep you full with fiber. All of that for only 35 calories per cup. To compare to another side dish, one cup of mashed potatoes has 165 calories (made without butter!).
Though kale is sometimes thought of as bitter, it doesn't have to be. Here are some ideas for how to use your kale (sidenote- use only the leaves, and toss the stems to help with bitterness):
- MY FAVORITE- KALE CHIPS (pictured): Toss rinsed and dried kale leaves with olive oil and favorite seasonings (I like garlic powder, lemon pepper, or for a spicy punch- chili powder. Other ideas would be cumin or curry for more ethnic kick.) Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also spread the undressed leaves on a baking sheet and spray with PAM/cooking spray to cut down on calories. These have the crunch and flavor appeal of potato chips with very few calories but gobs of nutrition.
- Smoothies: when making a fruit smoothie, add a handful (about 1/2 cup) raw kale, and blend well. This doesn't change the taste, though the color might turn slightly green (use kiwi or other green fruit in the smoothie if this bothers you). I like to mix vanilla protein powder with frozen mango, frozen berries, kale, and water for a breakfast smoothie with enough protein to hold me over until lunch (or drink it after a strength workout).
- Steam: Steam kale leaves for about 10 minutes and dress with your favorite vinaigrette (especially something with a little sweetness, like a balsamic or raspberry vinaigrette).
- Sautee: Sautee kale leaves with garlic/onions and olive oil (until wilted). Drizzle with lemon juice and sprinkle with [a little] salt.
- Use it in place of spinach in lasagna, omelet/eggs, "creamed" (try to cut down on the cheese and use 2% milk instead of cream), wilted in a pasta dish, and the list goes on.
When buying kale, look for ones with stems already trimmed (they just changed over to stemless kale at my local Whole Foods- amazing!) or get a pre-washed/pre-cleaned bag, like that sold at Trader Joe's.
So put on your "Eat More Kale" t-shirt from Bo Muller-Moore, eat your kale chips, and be happy. I know that's what I'll be doing.
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