Why do so many people have a grudge against kale? In particular, it seems like men and children think kale is the yuckiest food ever grown. I mean, the memes are endless. Here are a few of my favorite ones:
Although kale is a buzzword, trendy food, and can be snuck into everything from smoothies to brownies to pizza, there is a reason it is so popular…it’s actually really nutritious!
I know that (in general) husbands and kids don’t prefer to eat healthily. Junk food and fast food taste way better in their opinion. But as Mama, you want to nourish your family with foods that fuel their bodies and encourage maturity and spur on growth. How can you get your family to eat kale?
What is Kale?
Kale is a leafy green grown in the winter. It is very hardy and can even grow in the snow!
It’s part of the mustard family along with cabbage or Brussel sprouts. You can find it in the fresh produce section of most grocery stores near the lettuces. It comes in light green, dark green, and purple varieties.
Kale is high in fiber, calcium, vitamin c, iron, vitamin K, beta-carotene, and antioxidants.
Why is Kale so Good for You?
There are so many reasons to list here! Here’s a summarized list from Medical News Today. This isn’t meant to be comprehensive, but it is meant to encourage you to begin adding kale to your menu:
- Kale has been known to protect against both type 1 and 2 Diabetes.
- The chlorophyll in kale can limit the risk of cancer. (If you tend to accidentally burn food or if you grill frequently, pair that meal with greens because they help reduce harmful carcinogens.)
- The vitamin K of kale can help reduce the risk of fracturing or breaking bones (which is good for your active and rambunctious children).
- Kale’s high fiber and water content contribute to a healthy digestive system and regular pooping. (Don’t laugh – constipation is no joke!)
- Vitamin C and B vitamins, both found in kale, promote iron absorption. Kale also offers iron, which is particularly helpful for teenage girls.
- Kale offers high amounts of beta-carotene (just like carrots), which is great for eye health as well as skin, hair and nail growth.
- How to Incorporate Kale into your Menu
As with all produce, you should first wash the kale leaves. I typically add 1-3 tablespoons of white vinegar to a large bowl and fill the bowl up with tap water. Then I soak my kale in it for a few minutes. Drain. Rinse. Then the kale is ready to use!
The easiest way to incorporate kale into your diet is either in a smoothie or salad. Toss a few leaves into the blender with your usual fruit, yogurt, and milk smoothie. Or chop it up and add the tender leaves to a weeknight salad.
Looking for more ideas to add kale to your family’s meals? Try these ideas:
- Add it to a smoothie.
- Mix with other greens in a salad.
- Make a citrus kale salad. Massage kale leaves in olive oil for 2 minutes. Then toss with strawberries or oranges. (Massaging the leaves makes them more tender.)
- Add to a pot of soup. My family loves Kielbasa, Kale and White Bean soup. Bonus: you can make this in the crockpot!
- Toss into a stir fry.
- Add to pasta. It’s especially tasty in Alfredo sauce or as an added layer in lasagna.
- Sauté it as a side dish. The addition of fresh cheese or slivered almonds add extra flavor. Worcestershire or soy sauce, or lemon pepper are also great seasonings for sautéed kale!
- Use it as a green in homemade fajitas.
- Make homemade walnut-kale pesto (instead of pine nuts and basil).
- Make kale chips.
How to Get Your Family to Eat Kale: Kale Chips Recipe!
Have I sold you yet? If not, you must try this recipe for kale chips.
My mom made kale chips one day when I was visiting her house. My first thought was, “Ew, vegetable chips? No thanks, Mama.” But of course I tasted one – after all, my Mama is an excellent chef. And wow, I was shocked!
The kale chips were crispy and flavorful. She coated them in olive oil and doused one pan with generous portions of garlic salt, another with parmesan cheese, and yet another with cayenne pepper.
If your family enjoys chips (or anything crunchy for that matter), then add this recipe to your weekly meal plan.
Kale Chips Recipe: Ingredients & Instructions
Kale Chips Recipe: Ingredients & Instructions
- 1 Bundle Kale
- 1 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Garlic salt, Parmesan cheese, or another seasoning of your choice as needed
- Preheat the oven to 300F.
- Wash and thoroughly dry the kale leaves. Then de-stem the kale by ripping off pieces roughly the size of a large potato chip. (No need to be precise with this part!)
- Combine the kale pieces with a 1-2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large mixing bowl. Using your hands, knead the kale with the oil for 2 minutes. You should feel the leaves grow more tender as you rub.
- Spread the kale pieces on a lined baking sheet. The edges of the kale pieces can overlap, but try not to stack them on top of one another (the kale will shrink as it bakes).
- Sprinkle on the seasoning of your choice. I prefer 1 tsp garlic salt, freshly ground Parmesan, or paprika.
- Bake at 300 for 10-15 minutes, until the kale begins to brown. Be careful not to bake for too long or it will burn!
- Eat immediately. Once cooled, store in a sealed container. Eat within 2-3 days or they will become soft.
How does your family like to eat kale? I’m always searching for new ways to cook with kale. Share below in the comments your favorite kale recipes!