Mighty Kale: The new spinach!

If Popeye wants bigger pipes – and who doesn’t? – he should give kale a try. The leafy green vegetable contains more muscle-building protein than spinach does, and it blows the sailor man’s secret weapon away when it comes to essential vitamins such as A, C and B6, and minerals like manganese, calcium and iron.

But how does it taste? The good news for Olive Oyl’s hero, and for other guys who want to reap the nutritional benefits, is that kale is as versatile and delicious as it is nutritious. It’s also easy to prepare: Steaming chopped kale on the stovetop for a few minutes, or scrunching it in your hands until it turns dark green, makes it tasty and tender. (No more canned veggies for you, Popeye!) You can also grill or bake the stuff – more on that in a moment.

Here, then, are five satisfying options that can make you “as strong as a gale, ’cause you eat your kale” – to paraphrase Popeye – while reducing some of the health risks revealed by the YouCheck.ca survey:

  • Kale lasagne: Anything canned spinach can do kale can do better. While layering this Italian staple make sure some shredded kale goes between the pasta sheets and the low-fat cheeses, veggies and lean ground meats you choose to use.   
  • Kale chips: Chop the raw leaves into bite-sized pieces, transfer them to a baking sheet, drizzle them with olive oil, and bake them in a preheated 350-degree oven for 10 minutes or until the edges of the leaves turn brown. Once they cool, season this nutrition-packed snack with gusto – garlic powder and cayenne pepper are two popular options.
  • Burger with grilled kale: Barbecue those lean patties as you normally would, but then add a nutritious twist by topping them with kale that’s been grilled for a couple of minutes (turning often). Believe it or not, its meaty texture could be mistaken for bacon!
  • Kaleslaw: Goodbye cabbage, hello steamed kale. Use white wine vinegar instead of mayo, throw in some grated carrots and diced bell peppers, and coleslaw is transformed into a nutritious side dish bursting with colour.
  • Kale Caesar salad: Replacing romaine lettuce with kale adds flavour, texture and nutrition, while going light on the dressing, croutons and bacon bits slashes fat, carbs and calories. All hail Caesar! All hail kale!

This doesn’t mean kale should become your new secret ingredient. After all, the dozens of healthy, tasty recipes on the Don’t Change Much Blog are made for sharing. Your buddies, and their bodies, will thank you…

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