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Health Benefits of Kale & Healthy Recipes

Author: Cara Walsh

April 07, 2014

Health Benefits of Kale & Healthy Recipes

Author: Cara Walsh

April 07, 2014

Kale is the latest super food that is popular among health and fitness individuals. There is no doubt that it lives up to all the nutritional hype. With the extreme health benefits of kale, it’s no wonder that everyone is singing its praises. It has now become more popular than ever, and for good reason. Kale is a nutritional powerhouse, and there are many reasons to love it, but just a few are listed below.

It’s Versatile

One of the best aspects about kale is its versatility in many different healthy recipes. It can be substituted for countless vegetables in almost any recipe, but is especially delicious to trade it for spinach in dips, salads or any casserole. It can be used in smoothies or green juices, or as a quick snack in the form of homemade kale chips. (See our kale chip recipe below.)

There are also a few varieties of kale to choose from depending on your individual tastes. Curly kale has thick, heavy leaves and is a lighter green color. This type of kale is best when cooked. Lacinato or dinosaur kale has thinner, lighter weight leaves with a dark green color. Once leaves are torn from the stalk, this kale is best used in salads and can be eaten uncooked. Red Russian Kale has a reddish purple color and large flat leaves that resemble arugula. It can be slightly bitter, so it is should be cooked before eating.

It’s Packed Full of Nutrients

A one cup serving kale has:

  1. Only 33 calories
  2. 2.4 g of fiber (you need 25-30 g per day)
  3. 3 g of protein
  4. +100% DV* of vitamin A and C
  5. 472 micrograms (+500% DV*) Vitamin K
  • Vitamin K is a powerful antioxidant that aids in normal blood clotting and bone health. 
  1. 84 micrograms (24% DV*) of Folic acid
  2. It is a good source of minerals: copper, potassium, iron, manganese and phosphorus.

*DV = daily value. Nutrition information was taken from the USDA nutrient database.

Kale Chip Recipe

Kale chips are a great alternative to the typical high calorie, high fat potato or tortilla chip, especially if you’re trying to balance your weight control. They are extremely easy to make and taste delicious. Feel free to add your own favorite combination of seasonings to make this healthy recipe your own.

Ingredients:

  1. Kale
  2. Olive Oil Spray (such as Pam)
  3. Seasonings (nutritional yeast, black pepper, and Mrs. Dash Onion and Herb are a few options. If you like it spicy, add cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes.)

Directions:

  1. Tear kale into medium size pieces.
  2. Either in a bowl or on a baking sheet, spray VERY lightly with olive oil (A little goes a long way!).
  3. Add seasonings as desired.
  4. Bake at 225° for 7-10 minutes or until crispy.

About the Author:

Cara Walsh
Counselor at The Carmel Mountain Ranch Medifast Weight Control Center
Cara Walsh is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Weight Control Counselor. Cara received her bachelor’s degree in Nutritional Science from San Diego State University and completed her dietetic internship to become a registered dietitian through the Utah State University. Cara is currently completing her Masters in Dietetic Administration through Utah State University. Cara has always had a passion for healthy eating and cooking. She loves to focus on how food can heal and provide nutrition-while tasting delicious. Cara thrives on helping others reach their full potential nutritionally. In her spare time she enjoys reading, going to Pilates and running the boardwalk on the Pacific Ocean with her son and husband.

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