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There’s no mistaking that both kale and spinach are both extremely healthy vegetables that would make an excellent addition to any diet, but there is many opinions out there on which is healthier for you. I will share with you different ways to eat them and some of their health benefits. Let’s create some tasty leafy green recipes.

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Kale

Kale’s complex flavor wins it fans at breakfast, lunch and dinner. It boasts deep, earthy flavors that can range from rich and meaty to herbaceous and slightly bitter. It tastes supremely healthy — in a good way. Rich in protein, fibre and a wealth of nutrients, kale has secured itself as a superfood — but the bitter green doesn’t exactly make mouths water. Unlike other leafy greens, this hardy variety needs some tender love and care to boost its flavour. Here are best ways to eat kale that prove the veggie is not just good for you… it’s delicious, too!

Best ways to eat it:

  1. Raw Kale – One bite of massaged kale will make you see the superfood in a whole new light. Massaging the vegetable for three to five minutes with some lemon juice draws sweetness out of the bitter green while making it softer and easier to digest.
    1. Get the recipe: Chicken Squash Kale Salad
  2. Steamed Kale – While no other puny lettuce leaves could survive swimming in a steaming bowl of soup or stew, kale’s strong build makes it the ideal vegetable for a hot brothy meal.
    1. Get the recipe: Kale and Italian Sausage Soup
  3. Baked Kale – Turn leafy kale into crisp chips with a tiny bit of oil and a hot oven. Seriously, that’s all it takes (salt is optional).
    1. Get the recipe: One Pan Salmon with Crispy Kale
  4. Sautée Kale –  Sauté fresh garlic with kale and continue to sauté until desired tenderness.
    1. Get the recipe: Warm Breakfast Bowl
  5. Blend Kale
    1. Get the recipe: Blueberry Kale Smoothie

Kale grows well in the colder winter months, making a good addition when other fruits and vegetables are less readily available. Winter kale is usually better cooked, as colder weather can turn the sugars in kale into starch, increasing the bitterness and fiber content.

Spinach

A dark leafy green, spinach packs an impressive nutritional punch.

In the dark-leafy-greens department, spinach can sometimes come off as a lightweight. After all, spinach is not as robust in flavor as mustard greens and broccoli rabe or as sturdy in texture as kale and collards. Spinach is a versatile vegetable and can be eaten raw or cooked. It is available fresh, frozen, or canned. Here are some best ways to try to incorporate more spinach into a daily routine:

Best ways to eat it:

  1. Raw Spinach – There is no need to shun raw spinach simply because it contains oxalic acid. It is also rich in many essential nutrients, some of which are more available to our bodies when we consume them raw.
    1. Get the recipe: Shrimp Taco Salad
  2. Baked Spinach  – When you eat spinach that has been heated, you will absorb higher levels of vitamins A and E, protein, fiber, zinc, thiamin, calcium, and iron.
    1. Get the recipe: Egg Spinach Muffin
  3. Sautée Spinach  – Sautéing spinach is an especially quick and easy way to cook spinach, and this method also evaporates excess moisture in the leaves. However, you can also boil or steam spinach.
    1. Get the recipe: Lemon Shrimp Zoodles
  4. Blend Spinach  – Making or adding spinach juice in a blender allows you to keep all of the dietary fiber of the vegetable, unlike with a juicer, which filters out the fiber.
    1. Get the recipe: Green Coconut Smoothie

Spinach is great for your cardiovascular health. The antioxidant properties of spinach work to prevent harmful oxidation of cholesterol. Folate, found in spinach, converts harmful, stroke-inducing chemicals into harmless compounds.

Bottom line, Spinach and Kale has a number of health benefits. Adding them to your salads is a great way to make them more filling and nutritious.

Enjoy the cooking!

Gabrielle

Live to Create.

 

 

EDUCATE

Kale, a super trendy bitter green that has become a staple in the diet of yoga-lovers and veganistas. And with this on-going trend, spinach seems to have lost some of its luster. Paling in comparison to the crunchiness of its green leafy cousin.

But which one is truly better for your health?

Let’s start by talking about green leafy vegetables in general. When we talk about green leafy veggies (and we talk about them a lot at Low Fat Low Carb), we’re talking about dark lettuces like dark romaine and arugula, Swiss chard and collard greens, kale, rapini, spinach, dandelion greens, Bok choy, mustard greens, beet and turnip greens. The darker the leaf, the higher it is in nutrients.

The whole family of dark leafy greens are loaded with fat and water soluble vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They are high in fibre and have been shown to battle the risk of cancer and heart disease. One study showed that adding one serving daily lowered your risk of cardiovascular disease by 11 percent. Because of their magnesium content, they also help those with pre-diabetes, lowering their risk by 9 percent. Their high levels of vitamin K makes them important for bone health and they are an excellent source of vitamin C and iron.  

Ok, we can all agree that stepping outside of the iceberg lettuce “box” would benefit you a ton. But, if you had to choose just one leafy green, and your choices were only kale and spinach, which one would be optimal?

Kale

I love it. Without even highlighting the benefits, this would be my first choice. The crunch and the versatility alone are enough for me to be hooked on this green veggie. And since the list of benefits are so long, let’s keep it brief by covering the top nutrients and what they offer the body.

  • Contains 1180% of your daily vitamin K needs. Vitamin K is crucial for blood coagulation, bone formation, lowering inflammation and improving insulin sensitivity.  
  • For a veggie, it’s high in omega 3s.
  • Kale contains more than 45 different flavonoids. Flavonoids are phytonutrients that give kale it’s dark green color. These flavonoids are also antioxidants, have anti-inflammatory properties, they support the nervous system and help to prevent cancer.
  • Kale’s high fiber content also contributes to improving cardiovascular health and lowering LDL cholesterol. Studies show that although raw kale can reduce your cholesterol levels, steamed kale is best.

Spinach

For years now I’ve been putting spinach in my smoothies. My kids expect it, too. I love that this simple practice adds a ton of nutrition without changing the taste so much. Spinach salads are also a favorite at our house. My daughter is a huge fan of blueberry and spinach anything. In her salads, smoothies and even as a base for her baking projects. Let’s see how it compares to kale.

  • Spinach is a rich source of dietary nitrate. This not only helps to fuel you pre and post-exercise but dietary nitrate helps with the proper functioning of your gut.
  • Spinach is a great source of chlorophyll, too. This is the nutrient that gives it its rich green color. What’s interesting is that chlorophyll has been shown to help with weight loss. It seems to delay stomach emptying, decreases your levels of ghrelin (which makes you hungry), and increases the hormones that make you feel full for longer periods of time. This makes spinach a great choice for those with diabetes as well.
  • Spinach ranks number 1 in terms of magnesium and iron content. Both are vital in bone health, muscle regeneration, blood formation and improving energy levels.
  • High in vitamin K, it falls as a close second behind kale on the charts

And the list for both these amazing vegetables goes on and on. Overall, they are both fantastic for your health and alternating a daily serving between these, and all of the dark leafy greens, would significantly improve your health.

If I had to pick one, however, I’m not sure I could. As always, it depends on your health goals. Spinach might be the best choice if you are trying to lose weight and you’re in a “growth” phase such as during childhood, adolescence or pregnancy. Kale, on the other hand, may be a better choice as you get older. Helping to keep your eyes healthy and preventing oxidative cellular damage are important elements to aging gracefully. Cancer prevention and cardiovascular health is always something to consider after we cross the “mid-life” stage of our lives.  

But, truthfully, I just prefer the taste of kale. Whether you’re a kale or spinach fan, you can rest assured that they are both so good for your health. Enjoy them a lot!

 

Stay healthy,

Patricia, R.H.N

Eat.Real.Food

 

MOTIVATE

As a father to two young boys, I am always concerned about whether my children are getting enough of the necessary nutrients for optimal development and prevention of health issues in the future.

Being a parent I understand how difficult it is to get your kids to eat the food you know they need – especially when it comes to vegetables.

When my eldest first started eating solid food it was a dream come true. He loved vegetables and didn’t like meat and salty foods!

We fed him broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, green beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, black beans and a whole variety of nutrient-dense food. He couldn’t get enough either, he just kept growing bigger and eating more veggies. Then something changed. He became picky.

It could have been the introduction of sweet foods, for example being fed sugary treats at birthday events, that let him know of the “other side” of flavor. But ever since, we’ve been battling with him back and forth on vegetable consumption. Some days he would finish his plate, and some days he’d put his hand up and shout “NO!” with the most sincere face a toddler could make.

It can be stressful when it comes to controlling your little-ones diet, but the key is to be patient. Patience is your number-one tool, and it’s one that your child doesn’t have.

Three tips we’ve been successful with:

Associate the food with something or someone:

The most effective thing we’ve been able to do to convince our eldest to eat or drink certain things, is to link it to a superhero he really loves.

Have some grated beets? Maybe some diced red-pepper? “Hey Son! Do you want to try these AMAZING SPIDERMAN peppers?”

Trying to finish off that spinach in the fridge? “Son, I’ve got something special here for you: some ‘HULK LEAF’ for you! Would you like some??”

Suddenly it’s as though I’ve sprinkled sugar all over it, he can’t get enough of the veggies now!

You’ll have to remind them pretty often, and make sure to always associate that vegetable or meal with that something or someone so they don’t get confused. Make it an exciting event for them.

Let them watch you eat it first:

We found pretty quickly that our son would look over and check out our plates to see what we had. Obviously his would be pre-cut, so it made sense that he may think it’s different.

But what we decided to try, from seeing this happening again and again, is giving him most of his meal as usual but keeping some extra on our plates so that if he demanded we share with him (which, of course, we were happy to do!), we could give him the food he wanted and know that he’s getting his fair share of nutrients.

The bonus here? We couldn’t have anything unhealthy on our plate for fear of our son wanting some! So, he unknowingly kept us eating well – which we appreciate.

Hiding the veggies:

This is an old trick, you hide the vegetables within food that they enjoy eating. Does your child love pizza? How about making a cauliflower crust pizza and put diced veggies or leafy greens under the cheese or cheese substitute? You’ll havre to get creative if your child is particularly picky, but once you find the right combinations you’ll be all set – until your child’s taste preferences change again!

We have this Hidden Veggie Meatballs recipe that may come in handy if your little one is a meat-eater.

 

Let us know if these tips worked for you, or if you have some tricks of your own!

To your success and happiness!

Alex

 

 

 


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