Kale has recently become the talk of the town! This leafy green veggie has been popping up on menus at an insane pace and for a good reason! So, why all the hype? I will tell you! Out of all the green veggies to choose from, Kale packs the most bang for your buck when it comes to nutrients. The list of health benefits is pretty long but here are some of my favourites: Kale is super high in fibre, which is essential when it comes to maintaining or obtaining a healthy body. Foods high in fibre lower cholesterol and fight off heart disease! For just one cup of kale you are getting 5 grams of fibre. The other standout nutrient is IRON! Calorie for calorie, our green goddess contains more iron than beef. If you are a vegetarian, including kale in your diet is an excellent way to get your iron fix. Kale is also high is vitamin K and antioxidants such as carotenoids and flavonoids, all of which help prevent cancer. Vitamin K has also been linked to the prevention of Alzheimer's disease. This being said, it is simple to add kale to any meal! You can make a kale salad, sauté with extra virgin olive or coconut oil, or make kale chips! These are my new favourite snack because they are easy to make, nutritious, and versatile. You can put virtually any seasoning you desire on these healthy "chips" to satisfy your craving for salty snack goodness. Here is the recipe for yummy kale chips:
1 head organic kale
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees
2. Wash and dry head of kale
3. Rip apart chip size kale pieces (keep in mind the pieces will shrink when you bake them). Do NOT include the stem
4. Place kale pieces in a freezer size Ziplock bag. Drizzle olive oil into bag with the kale and seal (flatten the Ziplock to make sure there are no air bubbles)
5. Massage the olive oil onto the kale, making sure each piece is covered.
6. Lay the pieces of kale out on a baking in a single layer (this will take at least 2 baking sheets)
7. Sprinkle the salt and cayenne pepper evenly amongst all kale pieces
8. Put in oven for 20 minutes
9. Take kale chips out, allow them to cool for 15 minutes.
These "chips" are delicious with any seasoning. As you can see, I prefer the more spicy flavours, but you can use parmesan, oregano, or garlic salt. Kale chips are a yummy way to incorporate this amazing green into your diet! Enjoy!
My newfound gem for healthy cooking? Coconut oil. If you are a fan of coconut, you will find that this oil adds a light coconut flavour to your food, not to mention the health benefits are abundant! Yes, coconut oil is a saturated fat, which some might say are "bad" but the way that it reacts in the body is GOOD! Here's how it works: coconut oil is nature's richest source of medium-chain triglycerides or MCTs. Due to the fact that MCTs have a shorter chain it is easy to digest and quickly burned off by the liver for energy but without the spike in insulin. This causes a metabolism boost and uses the coconut oil fat for energy, thus causing you to lean out. I use organic extra virgin coconut oil on practically everything! I sauté my veggies in it and even use it when cooking my eggs in the morning! Here is my favourite dinner recipe using this gem. This dish will pump up your metabolism and give you a healthy dose of your omega-3s!
16 ounces Atlantic salmon filets (with skin on)
2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 lemon wedges
1. Preheat oven to 350º
2. Smear 2 tablespoons coconut oil on the bottom of a rectangular baking dish
3. Place fish on top of the oil, skin side up
4. Place fish in oven for 15 minutes
5. Remove fish from oven and use a spatula to gently peel skin off of salmon
6. Place fish back in oven for an additional 15 minutes
7. Remove fish from oven and squeeze on your lemon
8. Sprinkle on your salt and cayenne pepper evenly
9. Cut into 2 servings and plate
That's it! Such a simple recipe and you can mix it up with different spices and flavours but don't forget the coconut oil! Serve your fish with some nice green veggies and a salad to complete your meal. Enjoy!
We all know that chicken is a lean meat, which is great fuel for the body. But chicken often has a bad rep for being bland and dry! This recipe is a no-fail way to make delicious chicken that comes out juicy and full of flavour! By pretty much making your own pasta sauce, you are taking out the additives that you would find in store bought tomato sauce, such as sugar and excess salt. Also, by throwing in some whole Roma tomatoes, you are reaping the benefits of cooked tomatoes. By cooking the tomatoes, you are boosting the lycopene levels, which is a phytochemical that acts as an antioxidant. Including lycopene in your diet has been correlated with reducing your risk of cancer. With little prep time and all the nutritious benefits, this meal is perfect for a post-workout dinner that won't take the entire evening to make.
2 Boneless, skinless, chicken breasts or 4 boneless, skinless, chicken thighs
1 can tomato purée
4 roma tomatoes
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons sriracha (hot sauce)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 fresh basil leaves for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 350º
2. Place chicken and roma tomatoes in a rectangular baking dish
3. Pour 1 can tomato purée evenly on top of chicken
4. Add olive oil, sriracha, salt and pepper on top
5. Place in the oven for 40 minutes or until meat is no longer pink
Once the 40 minutes has passed you will have a ready-to-eat meal with fresh tomato sauce. No artificial colours, flavours, or sugar in this meal! Plate your chicken and tomatoes and sprinkle with basil leaves. Eat and enjoy!