So today, October 7, is officially National Kale Day.
How will you celebrate your love (or want to love) of kale today??
I'll be totally honest that when the hype around kale started, a number of years ago, I didn't just jump right on board. I'm like that about most things actually...
It took me a while to even TRY it, and then it took me years to find out how to LIKE it! And it is definitely one of those things, that if it doesn't appeal to your taste buds right away, it's definitely worth (for the nutrients alone!) trying the 17 or so times it takes to help develop your taste buds love for it.
Kale is undeniably one of the most "nutrient-dense" (a common term around here!) foods on the planet. Basically what that means is the calorie to nutrient ratio is much lower than other foods, meaning it has TONS of nutrients, and very FEW calories. In fact, it tops Dr. Fuhrman's list of Nutrient Density Scores at a perfect score of 1000. It is packed with antioxidants like beta-carotene, vitamins C & K (amongst others), minerals, fiber, and protein. It has a very small amount of fat in it, but what it does have is from omega-3 fatty acids, a.k.a the good kind.
Here are some useful tips for learning to like kale:
1. Put it in a smoothie. No better way to start eating kale than by hiding it! A handful, or even two, goes completely undistinguished among other yummy fruits and ingredients! A basic smoothie to try goes like this: 1 banana, 1 apple, 1 kiwi, 3/4C frozen blueberries, about 1/2-1 C unsweetened almond milk, 1 T flax or chia seeds, and a giant fistful of KALE.
2. For a raw kale salad, massage it. Whatever dressing you use, take a tiny bit, drizzle it on the de-stemmed kale first, and get your hands to work. It only takes 2-3 minutes of massaging these little leafy greens, and they turn into a whole new animal. I mean plant. Obviously... Seriously though, it changes the texture for your taste buds, but leaves all the nutrients in there for your body to get super hyped about. Try one of my faves here.
3. Steam it lightly. Lightly steamed kale can be added to pretty much any dish and be extra delicious and nutritious. Just steam it over a little bit of water (the less water, the less nutrients get pulled out) until it is vibrant green, and top with salt and pepper--or seasonings of choice for those avoiding salt--and pair it with your favorite grains, roasted vegetables, baked tofu or tempeh, etc.
4. Put it in your soup. Take that recipe you have for minestrone or squash and white bean soup, or black bean and butternut squash (whichever one tickles your fancy), and add chopped de-stemmed kale to it at the end, when it has about 5 minutes left to simmer. It wilts the kale, and makes a lovely pairing for whatever vegetable soup you have going on at your place. Here are some of my favorite soups I add or sub kale in: here, here, and here.
Tell me your favorite way to eat your kale!