6 Healthy (and Yummy) Ways to Eat Kale

Here are some healthy ways to incorporate kale in your diet.
06/11/2013 05:04 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Kale is a nutritional powerhouse that boasts an abundance of antioxidants and other disease-fighting agents. Kale has just 35 calories per cup and also packs in the following additional health benefits:

  • It includes over 1,000 percent of your daily recommended vitamin K, an antioxidant that promotes bone growth and regulates blood clotting. In fact, kale's vitamin K content surpasses that of broccoli, spinach and collard greens.
  • That same cup of kale also contains over 180 percent of your daily recommended vitamin A, which aids vision, growth, bone formation, tissue repair and red blood cell production.
  • A cup of kale also contains 200 percent of your daily recommended vitamin C and 5 grams of fiber, which is important for digestion and regularity.
  • This leafy green also delivers significant quantities of vitamin B6 (maintains healthy nervous and immune systems), as well as iron and calcium.
  • Finally, kale is rich in the eye-health promoting carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin.
Convinced of the MANY health benefits of kale? Below are some healthy ways to incorporate kale in your diet:

1. Salads - Kale makes a great salad base, but generally needs a little attention to soften the leaves, giving it a milder taste and softer feel. Enter the kale massage! To start, remove leaves from the stem and tear into bite-size pieces. Wash and dry the leaves. Once dry, toss with 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil. Don't be afraid to get your hands oily - massage the oil into the leaves for about five minutes, or until leaves turn bright green. This Kale Waldorf Salad or this Mesquite Avocado Kale Salad are both great options.

2. Smoothies - Add a few stalks of fresh, de-stemmed kale to your breakfast smoothie for an added boost of nutrients and flavor! Try mixing 3 or 4 stalks of kale, ᅡᄑ cup of your favorite plant-based milk, ᅡᄑ cup of frozen mango chunks, and one frozen banana for a simple, tasty, and nutritious breakfast or snack idea. Or try this delicious Strawberry Kale Smoothie recipe.

3. Juicing - Kale adds a fresh flavor (and beautiful green color) to any juice! To make a simple carrot apple kale ginger juice, use 10 carrots, 2 small apples, cored, 4 large kale leaves, de-stemmed and 2 quarter-sized chunks of fresh ginger root. For a fun twist on juicing kale (especially for the summer months), try this Green Juice Sorbet.

4. Entrᅢᄅes: Kale is king of the leafy greens and the more we can incorporate it into our meal plans, the better. Quick tip: if you find your kale a little bitter, try squeezing some lemon into it. This Spicy Kale Pesto with Zucchini Noodles is just one of the many hearty and healthy recipes that bring out the best in kale!

5. Snacks: The most fun way to eat kale is to bake it into yummy chips. Kale chips are a surprisingly addicting, yet healthy snack option. They're a great alternative to high-fat, high-sodium snacks like potato chips, and nutrient-poor options like crackers and rice cakes. It's a yummy, healthy snack that even the kids will enjoy. These Sour Cream and Onion Kale Chips are epic and easy to make, but if you are short on time, there are amazing brands available at almost any natural food store. These are our favorite commercially sold kale chips!

This post was originally published on One Green Planet.