Kale? Eeeeh… Don’t worry, that was my reaction too. With all of the health benefits and reasons that we should be eating kale, I decided to try my hand and boy, is it delicious when done correctly.
Kale, while being one of the most nutrient dense leafy vegetables on the planet, is also high in antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and more. It also sports an extremely low amount of calories all while simultaneously filling your body with alpha linolenic acid (one of two of the essential fatty acids).
1.) Kale is a great antioxident, and contains high levels of Vitamin C
Removing oxidants from your body is never a bad idea. While oxidants have been known to cause numerous diseases and early aging, and while there is no tried and true way to know if or when you may develop cancer, kale has those high levels of antioxidants which could be a tasty way to try to prevent it.
Vitamin C is required for collagen to form in our bodies. Collagen makes up a huge portion of our connective tissues, including bone (over 90% of bone by weight!). Without adequate vitamin C wounds will not heal and bones will not form or remodel correctly. Kale is an excellent source of vitamin C among other essential nutrients!
Kale contains nearly 5X the amount of Vitamin C as spinach!
2.) Kale provides essential minerals and nutrients
Many of the nutrients found in kale are lacking in the average American diet
These minerals are beneficial to bone health, heart health AND to help fight against type 2 diabetes.
3.) Kale is good for eye health
Studies have shown that lutein and zeaxanthin, both found in abundance in kale, are good for ocular health. Both help to prevent macular degeneration and cataracts.
4.) Kale is like celery
While it may be common knowledge that celery contains very little calories to the amount of vegetable consumed – what is less known is that kale does almost the exact the same thing. While kale is a leafy vegetable – very low in calories and high in minerals – it also helps to provide the feeling of being full. This all means that you are ultimately consuming less calories when choosing kale chips as opposed to potato chips or another savory snack.
5.) Kale is CHEAP!
When my local grocery store runs a special on kale, it is usually the organic variety and I can usually pick it up for 99¢ a bunch. This is more than enough for one sitting, meaning that I can get TWO snacks for as little 50¢ each!
6.) Kale is customizable
Put it in a smoothie, bake it, add it to your next salad, add a different flavoring. Kale is what you want it to be, simple as that. I choose to eat it as baked kale chips – a tasty alternative to popcorn for watching a movie with the kiddos. Yes, even my kiddos enjoy it!
Are you ready to try some kale? Pick up a bunch next time it goes on sale at your local grocer (you can search for weekly advertised specials right over here) or next time you visit the grocery store. It is cheap, and trying something new never hurts.
The Way that I Eat Kale
You could add kale to your health smoothies – or if you are not as pro-smoothie as some *waves hand* or if the taste is just too overpowering, try this SIMPLE and QUICK recipe. I’m a believer.
First, you’ll want to wash your kale. Clean it up and then you’ll want to pull the leafy parts off of the big, ugly stem (yuck, don’t eat that part) in as large of pieces as you can.
Lay the kale out on a cookie sheet (note, I used a regular cookie sheet for half of a batch and I will never do that again – this Rachel Ray Crisper (pictured in my “before photo” below) provides a much more evenly cooked, unburnt kale chip. 😛
Grab your olive oil and drizzle. I mean DRIZZLE, don’t go crazy. You’d rather have too little than too much oil. Next, give your kale a rub-down. Rub the olive oil into the front and back of the leaf, this will allow the leaf to crisp up as it bakes. When finished, spray LIGHTLY with Pam spray over the entire batch.
We use Cavender’s seasoning and Garlic Salt on our kale chips. Sprinkle some of each, then throw them in the oven at around 325 degrees for about 10 minutes. Watch throughout to make sure they are not crisping too quickly or browning at the edges before the center gets cooked.
When, upon touching or prodding the kale leaves, they are just getting crispy, remove from oven and allow to dry, furthering the crisping process. You don’t want them raw but you definitely want them cooked.
Let cool and voila! You are packing your body with a CHEAP, EASY, CRUNCHY goodness that you never knew you were missing. Let me know what you think!