If you have been to a farmer’s market this month, it’s likely that you have seen bins and baskets full of kale. This dark leafy green is currently in season and packs a powerful nutritional punch. In recent years, kale has gone from relative obscurity to super-star status after being labeled a “superfood.” Many food experts and nutrition scientists discount the superfood movement as more marketing tactic than nutritional designation, but when it comes to kale, the term might be more than hype. With a perfect 1,000, kale is the highest scoring food on the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI), a food-rating system that measures nutrients per calorie. To doesn’t get much more super than that!
Although many Americans are unfamiliar with kale, it has been a staple in other areas of the world for centuries. Its rise to prominence couldn’t have come at a better time as more of us are looking for ways to eat better food that is better for us. Kale, which is a form of cabbage, is considered one of the dark leafy greens, even though its leaves can be green or purple. Where collard greens have an earthy flavor and turnip greens tend to be bitter, kale, like spinach, is on the sweeter side. Kale has a crunchier texture than spinach and when baked into chips can provide a healthier alternative to more traditional crunchy snacks.
One of the reasons kale scores so high on the ANDI is its nutritional profile. When boiled without salt or other additions, 3.5 ounces of kale provides the following:
- 28 Calories
- 5.6 g of Sugar
- 2 g of Dietary Fiber
- 1.9 g of Protein
- .4 g of Fat
- 13,621 IU of Vitamin A
- 778% of the RDA for Vitamin K
- 49% of the RDA for Vitamin C
- 20% of the RDA for Manganese
- 11% of the RDA for Vitamin B6
- 7% of the RDA for Calcium
- 7% of the RDA for Iron
- 6% of the RDA for Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
- 6% of the RDA for Vitamin E
- 5% of the RDA for Thiamine (Vitamin B1)
And that’s just one small serving of this nutrient dense and delicious vegetable!
Here at Fill Your Plate, we are always looking for ways to get more of the fabulously fresh produce grown right here in Arizona into the pantries and onto the plates of local families. This month, kale is in season and we thought it would be helpful to offer up some great ways you can fill your plate with it so we reached out to our Facebook fans and asked them for their favorite things to do with kale.
From Barbara Sellick – Wash & spread the leaves out thin on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt and bake in a 350 degree convection oven to make crispy kale snacks, like kale chips!
From Linda Gray – Remove the ribs and cut into about 1/2″ pieces. Thoroughly dry the leaves, place on a cookie sheet, toss with about 2T olive oil and some sea salt. Bake at 275 for 20 min. Turn leaves over and bake about another 20 min. These “chips” taste great and are good with any dipping sauce
From Sarah Rose: Add three kale leaves with three carrots and one apple into a juicer! One of my favorite juicing recipes!
From Go Lb Salt: For a real treat, use our chemical-free, gluten-free simple seasonings – Original BBQ and make BBQ kale chips!
From Chris Martin: Fresh lemon juice, touch of water, kale. Cook until wilted. So good.
From Peggy Lee Miller: Strip the veins. Chop. Add slivered almonds toasted in coconut oil, fresh pomegranate seeds, dried cranberries, and toss with lemon/olive oil/agave vinaigrette.
From Mitzi Gomez Hooper: I like to put it in soups. Or sautéed with some curry powder
- 4 Tips to Eat Right In The New Year (fillyourplate.org)
- How to Get Your Kids to Eat More Vegetables (fillyourplate.org)
- Where Can I get Farm-Fresh Vegetables Delivered Right to My Door? (fillyourplate.org)