Natural Food Spotlight: Kale
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Natural Food Spotlight: Kale

Posted on Wednesday, February 20th, 2013 at 10:48 am
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When shopping for groceries, you want to fill you cart with foods that are low in fat and calories, rich in nutrients, and easy to add to a number of dishes. Nothing fits this description better than fresh fruits and vegetables. In the winter months, it’s difficult to find a wide variety of fresh foods that are in season. However, dark, leafy greens like kale are especially good for you! Kale has recently gained in popularity as more and more discover the health benefits and delicious flavor of this hearty green!

Kale is part of the same family that includes cabbage, collards, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. A single cup of kale only contains 36 calories, but it’s packed with 5 grams of fiber, 15% of your daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6, 40% of your daily magnesium, 180% of your daily vitamin A, 200% of your daily vitamin C, and 1,020 of your daily vitamin K! Kale is also a great source of copper, potassium and iron!

This leafy green is also loaded with antioxidants and phytonutrients. Kale is rich in lutein and zeaxanthin compounds, which are great for promoting eye health. Eating antioxidant-rich kale can help lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of heart disease, and prevent cancer.

When purchasing kale, look for leaves that are firm, deeply colored, and feature hardy stems. Smaller leaves will be more tender and will have a milder flavor. You will see leaves range in color from dark green to purple or deep red. To help kale stay fresh, store it unwashed in a zipped plastic bag for up to five days in the refrigerator.

Ensuring you eat your daily recommended vegetables can be tough. Luckily, kale is versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes! You can use it instead of lettuce in your favorite salad. Kale is also great when you chop it up and add it to pasta or rice. You can also cook it with some garlic, onions and your favorite seasonings! Another popular option is to place bite-sized kale pieces on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and salt, and bake for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees. Voila! The result is delicious kale chips!

If you’re especially fond of kale, you can add it to your smoothies or fresh made juices for an easy, on-the-go way to get a boost of nutrition!

Enjoyed learning about kale? Check out our Natural Food Spotlight on grapefruit!

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Good Tip: Saving money is important – especially if you have a lot of expenses like bills to pay, loans to pay off, and all the other things that drain your bank account. Figuring out a way to save money can feel tedious to some, and like a punishment to others. U.S. News suggests that you try one of these money saving challenges. The “No Eating Out for a Month” Challenge This one is self-explanatory. The goal is to avoid eating out for an entire month. This might be super easy for people who enjoy making meals at home. People who really enjoy dining out, or ordering food to be sent to their home, may struggle with this one. It’s worth a try because spending money on take-out is more expensive than buying groceries. The Pantry Challenge This one is a variation of the “No Eating Out for a Month” challenge. The goal is to use up all of your groceries before you buy more. It forces you to try and remember why you bought a food or beverage that you don’t know what to do with, and gives you the opportunity to find a way to use it. The one exemption to this challenge is the foods that have expired. Don’t eat them! Throw them in the trash. The “No Spend” Challenge Make a goal to avoid spending money during an entire weekend. The only exemption in this challenge is that you are allowed to pay bills. This challenge is interesting because it requires creativity. You must be creative and find workarounds for problems that you would typically solve by spending money. You may have a different outlook on spending after finishing this challenge.