As a registered dietitian I am often asked, “Which of the vegetables is the best one for me?” Well my answer is probably a vegetable that doesn’t regularly make it into your meal rotation. Kale is hands down one of the most nutritious food choices that you can prepare and will give you the most ‘bang for your buck.’ Any vegetable that has a very deep color the way kale does means there is a high concentration of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects for the body.
Benefits: Kale contains beta-carotene and the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin – which are associated with eye health – as well as potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, fiber, iron, and calcium. Now that is a mighty green! A vegetable with both calcium and iron is a plus for any vegetarians or vegans out there that might not be meeting their daily requirements.
Peak: Winter is this vegetable's time to shine, so not only is it going to be at its freshest but it will also be at its cheapest price of the year.
Best Prep: Cut the center stem out! Then slice the leaves into strips. Cancer studies show that raw kale is more beneficial then cooked, although cholesterol studies lean more towards steamed kale. Why not mix it up and try both! Whatever you do, just don’t overcook or add too much liquid. When you pour that green beverage down the drain, all the nutrients go right along with it. If you are trying kale out for the first time, try using baby kale. It’s a little less bitter and can be easier and quicker to work with.
Note: Cooked kale may be easier for your body to digest if you are just starting to incorporate this all-star veg. Fresh kale in large quantities can cause bloating or gas.
Medical Alert: Due to the high amount of vitamin K and oxalate in kale, limit your amount each week if you are on blood thinners or are prone to kidney or gallstones stones.
Recipe of the Month: Apple-Walnut Kale Salad
Switch up your usual salad by swapping the spinach out and trying kale as a substitute. I love this recipe because it gives you a quick salad dressing recipe rather than using a store bought product. And who doesn’t love blue cheese!
1 T. cider vinegar
1 T. Walnut oil
½ t. kosher salt
½ t. brown sugar
½ t. freshly ground black pepper
4 cups torn kale leaves
2 cups torn Swiss chard leaves
1 cup sliced granny smith apple
½ cup sliced celery
¼ cup red onion
1 oz crumbled blue cheese
2 T. toasted walnuts
Combine vinegar, walnut oil, kosher salt, brown sugar, and pepper. Add kale and Swiss chard; toss. Let stand 10 minutes. Add apple, celery, onion, blue cheese, and toasted walnuts; toss. Enjoy! Yields 6, 1 cup servings
Fat: 5.6 g
Saturated fat: 1.3 g
Protein: 0 g
Carbohydrates: 0 g
Fiber: 4 g
If you would like more tips on what to add into your diet or maybe what not to eat because of a medical condition, you can reach me at WholesomeNutritionRD@gmail.com. I am also currently accepting new clients at my private pratice located at 400 Horsham Road. I accept most health insurances.