May the power of kale compel you

Once, when one of my roommates came home from the grocery store with a bunch of kale, I looked at her and said, “Ew, really?” I know it’s just a vegetable, but it’s part of the species that also contains collard greens and Brussels sprouts. Gross.

As it turns out, kale isn’t as bad as it sounds. Kale is one of the healthiest vegetables, and it can be utilized in a variety of ways. It is low in calories, high in vitamins and can even help lower your cholesterol if it is steamed. All in all, it’s a food that you shouldn’t pass on.

Starting with just a little kale could compel you to make even healthier dietary choices. If you just can’t get past the taste — which actually isn’t too bad — there are ways to mask it. After months of trying, I figured out how to use kale in a few different ways to help me stay fit and healthy.

Kale can go great in a smoothie. The green smoothie trend has been around for a little while now, so if you haven’t already hopped on the bandwagon, why not try? I made my first green smoothie a few weeks ago, and it was delicious and, of course, nutrient packed.

There is a simple smoothie formula you can follow to create the perfect green smoothie. Begin with two cups of leafy greens. This could be kale, but you could also use spinach or even romaine. Next, add two cups of a liquid base. The best options are water, coconut water or almond milk. Blend this first. Lastly, throw in three cups of fruit. Here is your time to experiment. Try banana, mango, berries, apple, pineapple, and even avocado if you’re feeling extremely healthy that day. Blend again, and you are ready to go! All of the fruit will cover any hint of kale. This breakfast smoothie is a refreshing way to begin your day.

Kale is also a good ingredient for salads. You can substitute regular lettuce for kale, or use both. For a kale salad, I suggest topping the greens with pomegranate seeds, chopped pecans, crumbled goat cheese, diced avocado and grilled chicken with a lemon vinaigrette or olive oil. As with the smoothies, it is all up to you. Experiment with ingredients. I’ve even been known to put mandarin oranges and chia seeds in both kale smoothies and salads.

If you use your imagination, you’ll find ways to introduce kale into your diet. Throw it in a breakfast omelet. Top a pizza with some along with prosciutto. Cook it with chickpeas or quinoa. Bake some leaves until they crisp up like chips. Create a pesto with it. Add some to a soup.

I cooked kale in a yummy soup. My roommates loved it. You can try yourself by following the recipe for A Warm Spicy Sausage, Potato and Kale Soup.