Monday, April 2, 2012
A BIT OF SPRING CRUNCH
One of my daughter's favorite foods is kale. She loves it any way - chipped, sauteed, fresh from the garden, in soups, with mashed potatoes, juiced, you name it. In her mind it really doesn't matter. I am fully aware of how lucky this may seem but in truth I have been very intentional in the way I have introduced foods to her [and my husband has been a great support in this]. Many of her first solids came in green [go here if you are interested in food introductions].
Of course, over time kids will develop tastes of their own but if you are struggling to get your child to eat green veggies please keep at it. A little here, a little there. Sneak it into whatever you can think of. Make a goal to find a way to have kale, spinach, chard, and other leafy greens with at least one meal a day and work up from there. Start by concealing it if you need to and don't mention it when someone asks "what's in this?". The more your child has green veggies the more they will get used to it. Contrary to common belief, you really can change taste preferences. It may take a little time and planning but health is one of the greatest gifts you can give your family. And don't forget, pack the greens in yourself. Your child [or children] are watching you. This is especially important when they are young and impressionable. You are the one they look up to right now. Make sure the example you set is one worth following. Let your actions be their guide in addition to your words.
[GREEN...I'M JUST NOT SO SURE]
Well allow me a few minutes to try and change your mind. Thus far, kale takes the number one spot above all other vegetables in antioxidant capacity. Like other leafy greens and veggies in the brassica family [think cabbage, broccoli, etc.], kale contains powerful cancer-fighting compounds that help prevent some of the most common cancers today [breast, cervical, colon]. It's sulfur content boosts detoxification [great spring and fall food!] by triggering the liver to remove free radicals and other toxins found in our bodies. This happens when you chew, chew, chew and is a great example of the importance of thoroughly chewing your food [think upwards of 25 chews per bite]. It also makes a great detox food because it eases lung congestion commonly found during times of seasonal shifts.
Leafy greens, kale specifically, are packed with calcium, iron, vitamins A, C, K, chlorophyll, beta-carotene [in really high amounts], lutein and zeaxanthin [super important for your eyes] along with a bunch of fiber and protein.
It seems that any nutritionally-minded blog or cookbook has a recipe for kale chips, each hosting their own unique twist on this crunchy green favorite. Rather than re-invent the wheel, I decided to share a few of my favorite kale chip recipes along with some fool-proof tips on how to make them. Oh, and kale chips are a great way to introduce kale into your, and your family's, diet [hint, hint!].
GreenThyme Kitchen: Garlicky Kale Chips
My New Roots: Totally Addictive Kale Chips
Whole Living: Baked Kale Chips
To any of these recipes you can add a little tahini, balsamic vinegar, paprika, ginger, chipotle powder, and / or smoked sea salt. Essentially, get creative and use flavors you already love!
1. Use a salad spinner to wash and spin-dry torn / cut kale pieces. This should help get rid of most of the water post-wash.
2. From the spinner, lay the kale pieces on a kitchen towel and use a second towel to pat dry. The goal is to get each leaf completely dry.
3. I have found an oil sprayer [a pump spritz bottle that you fill with oil, pump, and spray] is the best method to apply oil. This keeps the oils from saturating a few kale pieces and missing others. After each piece is sprayed, use your fingers to massage the oil into each piece, both sides.
4. Use your fingers to sprinkle sea salt, garlic powder, or any other seasonings. This offers far more control.
5. Remember that each oven is different and baking times may not be what are listed in the recipe per your oven. Be sure to check the chips frequently and pull them out of the oven when they are bright green and crispy. Brown = over done.