Dark leafy green vegetables are the most missing vegetable in the American diet. These leafy greens are some of the most nutritionally dense foods we can put on our plates and in our little kiddos bodies. These dark greens are high in calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc, and vitamins A, C, E, and K. They also contain high amounts of fiber, folic acid, chlorophyll, and many other phytochemicals and micronutrients. Not only do they come with a power punch of nutrients but they are also fabulous for boosting the respiratory and immune systems. Spring is a wonderful time to be eating lots of greens because it is a very damp, wet, mucus producing season, especially in kiddos. Just think of all the colds that jump around this time of year. Leafy greens are good for building the respiratory system and reducing congestion and mucus. Have I convinced you yet that you should add some greens to your plate????
Kale has become a staple in our house the last few years. I will fully admit it took me a while to become fond of this leafy green, and some creativity at first. But now it is a staple on our grocery list. We throw it in smoothies, stir-frys, eggs, soups, pesto, shredded in salads....you name it.
A side note for those of you that are into gardening, I have found that kale is one of the easiest vegetables to grow. And hearty! I have continued to pick kale from our garden long after everything else is done producing. The last couple years my kale has lasted into December. So that is an easy way to have some fresh, organic kale all summer long! Not to mention, my daughter thought it was so fun last summer to nibble on the leaves she picked from the garden.
One of our favorites is kale chips. My girls LOVE these. They are so, so, so easy and so delish! They be a great compliment to a meal or a nice snack.
Here's our very easy kale chip recipe:
1 bunch of washed kale.
Lemon juice (Fresh or Costco carries an organic brand that has no preservatives)
Nutritional Yeast (optional) (this is VERY different from regular yeast. It is not a leavening agent but a nutritional condiment packed with B vitamins. It can be found at a health food store)
Tear the kale leaves off of the stalks into "chip" sized portions.
Put kale leaves in a bowl and toss with a SMALL splash of olive oil and lemon juice. The goal isn't to get them really wet but just to very lightly coat the leaves. The more wet they are, the longer they will take to cook.
Lay leaves on baking sheet and sprinkle with sea salt and nutritional yeast (if using)
Bake in oven at 350.
I find time varies depending on how damp the leaves are. Continue to check them frequently.
They are done when they are slightly crisp.