3 Simple Ways to Sneak Kale Into Your Diet

3 Simple Ways to Sneak Kale Into Your Diet

Get an in-depth look at kale and how you can sneak more of this superfood into your diet.

By: Elizabeth Stark

Many of us strive to have a more nutritious diet, but busy schedules make it tough to eat healthily all the time. Cooking with nutrient-rich whole foods takes diligence and planning — but, there are a few simple shortcuts to help supercharge your favorite dishes with kale. With a few fast and easy recipes at the ready, you'll find it's surprisingly simple to add this leafy green to your everyday meals.

Why kale? For starters, kale provides a lot of bang for your nutritional buck. With relatively few calories per serving, kale is packed with calcium and has very high levels of Vitamins C, A and antioxidant-rich Vitamin K, as well as iron, magnesium and potassium. Because kale delivers high levels of many of these nutrients, be sure to speak with your doctor about how much kale to add to your diet.

Kale isn't just healthy, it's also delicious and versatile. It’s excellent cooked or raw and is great as a side dish or as the base of a filling salad. Grocery stores and farmers markets offer many varieties of kale, and they're all wonderful for different reasons. From the popular and peppery curly kale, to more obscure varieties like tender red Russian or deep-hued and mild lacinato kale, there's a variety for every palate. No matter what type you choose, look for smaller leaves with vibrant color and thinner stalks. Thick stalks and yellow or very large leaves mean the kale is likely to be chewy, which can make for a less-appetizing dish — especially if you're preparing a recipe that requires raw kale. Get to know each variety by tasting it and experimenting in your kitchen.

Here are three fast and easy ways to add kale to your diet:


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Smoothies Plus Kale
Smoothies are a great way to create a nutritious treat quickly, and adding kale to almost any smoothie recipe is a fantastic way to boost your vitamin and mineral intake. To make your own basic kale smoothie, place a handful of ice, 1 banana, 1 cup fresh berries (or other sweet fruit), 1 cup chopped kale and a 1 cup of your favorite fruit juice or water in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a frosty glass and enjoy.

Sautéed Kale with Fruit
Sautéed kale is an excellent and quick side dish, and the addition of seasonal fruit keeps things interesting. To make, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Once the olive oil is hot, add 1 bunch of rinsed and rough-chopped kale and a few pinches of sea salt. Once kale begins to wilt, throw in a few slices of your favorite seasonal fruit (anything from plums to apples will do). Sauté until the kale is tender and the fruit has softened.

Kale Pesto
Already have a favorite recipe? Fresh kale blends beautifully into creamy pesto. Try subbing a 1/2 cup chopped kale for your favorite herb, or just add it into the mix.

Other Recipe Ideas
Chopped kale ribbons can be added to your favorite pasta dish or soup. Try tossing fresh or sautéed kale in with a favorite whole grain and adding a selection of chopped veggies. Fresh kale can also be pureed into mashed potatoes or tossed with roasted root vegetables. Because kale is so hearty, it's a great addition to brown bag lunches and is an excellent base for make-ahead salads. Feel free to experiment with this versatile green!

Elizabeth’s work can be found with her husband, Brian’s, on their blog, Brooklyn Supper a story of a family eating with the seasons in Virginia and Brooklyn. They believe strongly that good, local food and wholesome meals should be for everyone.

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Thanks for the article. My kids really hate eating vegetables. I'll try the ideas mentioned above.

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