Walking Guide

The Healthiest Leafy Green--and How to Eat It

By , SparkPeople Blogger
We all know it's a good idea to eat leafy green veggies. They're chock-full of nutritious vitamins and minerals, and they're low in calories to boot. But if you can only stomach so much green in your life, which leafy green should you choose for the maximum nutritional benefits: Spinach, kale, mustard greens, Swiss chard, or collard greens?
 
The Winner: Kale!

Dietitians and other health professionals have been telling us to eat more kale for years—and for good reason! Although the other leafy greens we mentioned still boast impressive nutritional profiles, kale clearly takes the cake. Check out how kale stacks up against the other greens on the list when comparing several key nutrients. (All nutritional information is for one cup of raw greens. The percentages are for the recommended daily value (% DV) of each nutrient.)
 
 
Type of Green Calories Vitamin A Vitamin C Vitamin K Calcium Iron Manganese
Collard Greens 11 48% 21% 230% 5% 0% 5%
Kale 33 206% 134% 684% 9% 6% 26%
Mustard Greens 15 118% 65% 384% 6% 5% 13%
Spinach 7 56% 14% 181% 3% 5% 13%
Swiss Chard 7 44% 18% 374% 2% 4% 7%

 
Kale can take some getting used to at first—it's tough to chew and just tastes, well, green. However, when prepared correctly, you'll fall in love with it! Here are some of our favorite ways to eat this leafy veggie:

Kale Chips: The easiest way to transition into eating more kale! These are a great substitution for potato chips. Try mixing it up by adding your favorite seasonings.

Kale and Sweet Potato Sautee: Kale and sweet potatoes are a delicious and nutritious combination.

Kale and Potato Hash: A hearty, healthy meal for breakfast or dinner!

Crispy Garlic Kale with Chorizo and Beans: An easy, satisfying dish that packs a protein punch.

Chickpea, Kale, and Butternut Squash Curry Soup: A warming fall and winter favorite—you'll love this if you like the flavors of Indian food!

Easy Massaged Kale Salad: Wash and rinse about half a bunch of kale and rip it into a bowl. Add half an avocado, the juice of half a lemon, and salt and pepper to taste (or any other seasonings you'd like). Massage in the avocado and lemon juice until the kale wilts and is fully coated.  

Kale Smoothie: Simply add about half a cup of kale to your favorite smoothie for a boost of vitamins and minerals. You won't even taste it—we promise!

Do you eat kale? What's your favorite way to prepare it?


 

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Comments

JHERMANKLM 10/15/2018
I do a smoothie in the morning that is a kale and banana smoothie. It cuts the bitterness of the kale and tastes super yummy Report
KSNANA2 5/27/2018
We grew our own kale last year and I couldn't believe how much better it was than what I have purchased from the grocery store. Wish I had gotten it done this year, but I didn't. Report
CINDIRITACCO 5/27/2018
Every morning I take a cup of Kale and half of a banana and blend it just to get it out of the way 😁 This has made it easier for me to get my Kale intake lol Report
RSCHWARTZ2 5/27/2018
I don't care what you do to it, I detest kale. I try it periodically to see if my taste has changed and it hasn't over 2 decades. But I will keep trying. Report
THICK611 5/6/2018
I love kale. Thanks for the info and the recipes. Report
CATSNCOFFEENY7 4/17/2018
I have tried kale three times now and I just can't stand it. I like other leafy greens, though. Report
ALEPEQUIJADA 3/12/2018
Thanks! Report
KATHYJO56 3/8/2018
I have tried and I just can't handle this vegetable. I do well with dark greens, just not this one. Report
BRAINSHARP 3/5/2018
Great article. Great to see the health benefits of greens. Report
PATRICIA-CR 2/28/2018
Good to know! Report
ALEPEQUIJADA 12/29/2017
Thanks! Report
EO4WELLNESS 11/30/2017
Thanks Report
EVILCECIL 11/19/2017
Good info Report
ELRIDDICK 11/10/2017
Thanks for sharing Report
KATONTHEMAT 10/23/2017
I’m a little confused about the vitamin A. Whenever I have kale and check the nutritional report at the end of the day it says I’ve gone way over my vitamin a for the day, but then goes on to say that most vitamin A from plants is not absorbed so don’t worry about it. So am I getting enough vitamin a? Too much? Not enough? Who knows Report
I am simply not a fan of kale! Report
I love Kale! I've been eating kale for a long time! Linda! Report
I love kale! Report
You could mix it with spinach for a healthy salad, in most supermarkets you can buy a prepacked salad mix with kale, no dressing included, which is good. Report
I like kale. It's easy to grow in the garden too. Report
I love sauteing kale and adding eggs to it to make a veggie/egg scramble! Report
Kale is great to eat and love eating it. Report
Of course if you compare them calorie for calorie, instead of cup for cup, spinach is higher than kale in all nutrients except for vitamin C. Mustard greens would be higher in every category, and the others come pretty close to kale in most categories - lower in some and higher in others. Report
TECHWALKER
If you have a thyroid condition, watch your kale and cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cauliflower). Don't over do. Website from University of Maryland Medical Center has info. umm.edu Report
Baby kale is more tender, for those who find "adult" kale too tough... Report
..."Brillo" - heh-heh! Seriously though. It's true that you probably won't notice it in a smoothie and I love homemade kale chips (where you can control the fat, salt and seasonings). Report
Ethelnerz
Since you are so against Kale, please read this article.shape.com/blogs/shape-your-
life/kale-s-not-superfood-you-think
. Its in the calorie density. Report
This article is OUTDATED, WATER CRESS has more nutrition than kale!! Kale is good for cleaning your kitchen sink if you don't have Brillo soap pads handy. Report
I don't like leafy greens, but luckily there are lots of other delicious vegetables around. My favorite is broccoli, microwaved for 3 minutes - emerald green, hot, filling and delicious. Report
Not sure who introduced me to Kale, but I have fallen in love with it. I prefer it fresh over frozen and I also enjoy adding to any salad. Report
Just remember, that older folks don't process Vitamin A as well; leading to toxic levels potentially. In my neck of the woods it is more pricey than collards or spinach so, we don't eat kale much in our household. Report
I don't mind it (even if its not dissimilar eating sandpaper!) especially recognising how good it is for me. Nobody else likes it sadly I had a whole bunch last year and didn't get to it in time to enjoy it. I like it steamed with butter salt and pepper and lemon juice. Report
I didn't really like kale at first until I found this recipe. I decided to buy a couple of plants to put in the garden. My husband grows a big garden every year. He planted the kale and wanted to know more about it. I said just go pick the leaves and eat them. My husband that doesn't eat most fruits and veggies love kale. That's hard for me to believe. Glad to get some recipes to make for him! Report
Rotating between different green leafy veggies is a better idea. Kale is great stuff (I can only handle it in a green smoothie), but that's a boatload of Vitamin K. Not necessarily something you're going to want 3 cups of daily. :-)
Report
Water cress is better than Kale, this is old info! Kale farmers hired an ad agency to push their product because they knew too many people used it only to scrub their sinks out...eating kale is like trying to down an SOS scrub pad....... Report
I chop kale and steam it till soft then add it to a pot of white beans with homemade tomato, onion and garlic sauce. Delish - for me anyway. I also add any other veg I have going spare. Report
Kale tastes like sour, green cardboard. No thanks. Report
Fresh Express had a Kale salad kit. It was amazing! Report
Sorry! I love spinach, green cabbage, pak choi, but I hate kale!! Report
BUDBUDDHA
I buy frozen kale which is chopped up and I put it in salads, soups, and rice. I think the recipes you have with potatoes sound pretty good and I will try them. Report
I love spinach, and I love that it is easy to chew raw. I don't need to add something that makes my teeth hurt. Report
I've made kale chips before & I thought they were really delicious. The only drawback I found was It takes alot of kale though to make a batch of chips, but they truly are a fantastic substitute for potato chips. Report
I don't like kale very much, so it's not a problem for me BUT doesn't anyone else worry about eating a lot of it with those massive amounts of vitamin K? Vitamin K affects blood clotting. Report
MI_SONG
I eat kale at least every other day, and I LOVE it. In a smoothie try 1 cup Montmorency (sour) cherries available in freezer section, 1 Tbl. almond butter, 1-2 c. kale, 1 scoop vanilla protein powder, and 1 tsp. natural almond flavoring-tastes like cherry pie in a glass. Or try sautéing with onion, garlic and a little Canadian bacon, wilt kale for 2 minutes while you 'fry' an egg in olive oil spray, then break the egg over the wilted kale concoction, salt and pepper to taste-mmm great for breakfast or a quick summer dinner. Report
I use kale in a green drink i make with celery, apples, fresh ginger and cucumber. Its delicious especially over ice, but does take some getting used to. Report
SCHU2122
Kale Chips are great. I do, however, slightly agree with KOSHIE1. When you multiply all the other greens to equal calorie contents Kale actually falls behind. Where I disagree, is the fact you will be eating a s@&^ ton of greens to equal the nutrient values. So, it's all up to the consumer. If you like a lot of greens daily, eat others. If you you're just trying to get down some greens in the day (like me) eat kale. Report
The taste of kale in smoothies isn't so bad, but I find that it doesn't blend in my Ninja as well as Spinach - I often am left with little pieces, whereas spinach blends seamlessly.

I love making homemade kale chips - in my experience, homemade tastes much better than prepackaged chips. Those leave a bitter aftertaste. I have made chips with just olive oil, and I find that to be simple but delicious. Report
I love kale. I've had it in green smoothies, in soup (with ckickpeas) and for breakfast (recipe below).

My favourite recipe with Kale is 'Fried Egg Kale Toast'. Just google 'Megan's Fried Egg Kale Toast' and you'll find the recipe.

If you want to lower the carbs just skip the toast. Report
ASIANCUPCAKE85
I love kale - but I dunno about it smoothies. I used to do a simple soup: 1 box of chicken stock (low sodium), 1 container of FIRM tofu (cubed), 1 can of garbanzo beans, 1 kale bunch (entire pack), 1 onion, 3 garlic cloves, 1-2 zucchini/squash, and salt and pepper to taste. Let it cook for about 30-45 on low (after you bring to a boil), and enjoy! Report
FOXGLOVE999
I'd rather eat more of another green. Kale is horrible. It's so bitter and tough. The only way I would eat it would be braising it for hours with bacon, like you do to collards. But I'd still rather eat collards. Report
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