Gwyneth Paltrow juices the dark green leafy powerhouse in the mornings and mixes it with lemon and the sweetener, agave nectar and its sales are up 60 per cent in Whole Foods. Kale has officially hit the A-List of vegetables, here’s how to get kale into your life
Kale’s nutritional CV
More iron per calorie than beef. More calcium per calorie than milk. High levels of essential nutrients such as vitamins A and K and the eye-health promoting compounds lutein and zeaxanthin. Antioxidants such as carotenoids and flavonoids for anti-ageing and even omega-3 fatty acids which may help arthritis and brain health.
Has it got the job of featuring in yours or your family’s meals a couple of times a week yet?
Good news is, it’s available in your local supermarket washed, cut and ready to cook. Here are five ways to get it into your diet
1. BLEND IT
Here’s one I stole from a friend who is a health nut from Los Angeles where adding a couple of handfuls of fresh kale to your morning smoothie is de riguer. To make a breakfast meal in a glass brimming with nutrition that keeps you going until lunch, try this:
Take 250 ml water, coconut water or almond milk as your smoothie base.
Add a single serve of any fruit you have around the house such as apple, berries, pear or half a banana.
Include one scoop of protein powder, this is great for keeping your hunger at bay. For the lowdown on protein powder read nutritional physiologist Rick Hay’s blog on the subject.
Sprinkle in a pinch of cinnamon (this is a spice renowned for balancing blood sugar and keeping sweet cravings at bay – dieticians recommend it to diabetics for this reason).
Add a serve of healthy fat – this could be any of the following: a tablespoon of organic nut butter such as Whole Earth Peanut Butter (£3.19 from supermarkets) or Meriden Nut Butter in almond or cashew (£2.19 from Tesco), a few raw almonds or a tablespoon on crushed flaxseed mix such as Linwoods Milled Organic Flaxseeds (£3.46 from Sainsbury’s)
Add some ice cubes and blend. Let it blend for a while (your neighbours will hate you for the noise) to ensure all the ingredients are blended and enjoy.
75g chopped kale (discard the thick rib in the centre of the leaf)
240ml unsweetened almond milk
1 tbsp almond butter
1 tbsp soaked raw almonds
1 date, pitted
1 tbsp coconut oil
Blend everything in a powerful blender until completely smooth and drink immediately.
2. STEAM IT
Add cut kale to your steamer and steam for two minutes, add a tablespoon of olive oil and some lemon or lime juice and sea salt for a simple side vegetable dish. Alternatively, to make a mash accompaniment that’s super-nutritous and low GI, chop and steam some sweet potato (it steams in about 5-7 minutes) until it’s soft. Then add the steamed kale, a teaspoon of fresh butter and sea salt and roughly mash – it’s a delicious side dish for white fish, salmon or lean steak.
3. SAUTE IT
I got this from the global bestselling health author Dr Mark Hyman when I interviewed him about his go-to quick dinner. He said he simply poaches some fresh salmon and then heats some olive oil in a pan and adds fresh kale, sautes it for a few seconds and then adds a few drops of Tamari (this is gluten-free soy sauce £2.50 from Tesco) and a good squeeze of fresh lime with some sea salt and he has the perfect accompaniment for his fish. The whole thing cooks in about eight minutes, faster than a TV dinner. You can add pine-nuts, shaved almonds or roasted cashews and/or dried cranberries or raisins for some sweetness and oomph.
4. ROAST IT
Here’s one from the unfathomably gorgeous bikini model Sian Toal I gleamed when I asked about her favourite healthy snack foods. ‘Kale chips’ are apparently a Walkers’ alternative for the super healthy. Toal makes her own by drizzling fresh chopped kale with a little olive oil and mixing it to ensure it’s covered and then placing in a flat pan and roasting for about five minutes until the kale is crisp. Once removed from the oven, let them cool and there you have it: kale chips. The taste is an aquired one – kind of seaweedy at first. Think of the nutrients.
5. EAT IT FROM A BAG
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Continuing on the cult of the kale chip, I recently discovered a brand new fast food version of the kale superchip from Inspiral the purveyors of fine super foods. Inspiral’s Raw Kale Chips start at £2.19 (for a tiny bag it must be said) and come in flavours to make a health nut drool such as Purple Corn and Wasabi Wheatgrass.
Having ordered a massive box that only arrived yesterday, I am still making my way through the flavours. So far, I can tell you the Baobab and Onion flavour taste like cheesey crisps with a seaweed edge (not low calorie though – 141 calories a serve!). They’re organic and gluten free and salted with Himalayan Crystal Salt which is high in minerals. A health junkie’s wet dream.
So – how do you get kale into your life?
And – is there a vegetable or food you’re confused about cooking or preparing? Tell us. We can help (and if we can’t, we will find someone who can). Email firstname.lastname@example.org
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