I'm newly-enthusiastic about kale smoothies partly because they make me feel virtuous for actually enjoying something made with so much chlorophyll, and partly because I completely suck at eating vegetables and this is one way that ensures I do it. Otherwise, I'm pretty sure my new baby is going to come out of the womb next month thinking the major food groups are milkshakes, french fries, chicken and decaf coffee drinks.
So, kale. It's a leafy green, sort of like lettuce or collards. If you're like me and don't enjoy salad, you've probably given it the side-eye at the grocery store or ignored it altogether while you were searching for something more normal, like carrots. But kale is super good for you. According to WebMD:
One cup of kale contains 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.Impressive. And it tastes...about like you'd expect it to taste. Like a dark, leafy green. So, not really that great.
Try it in a smoothie! Smoothies make everything better about 95 percent of the time. Here is my no-fail kale smoothie recipe, void of processed ingredients and full of parenthetical asides. Try it. You won't be disappointed. Even my ultra-picky 2-year-old will drink this stuff, and he usually treats green vegetables like the plague.
AC's Kale Smoothie
1 cup pure coconut water (I like the Zico brand, and the kind with mango flavor is particularly good here)
Splash of 100% pineapple juice (don't omit this; it's the key to making the smoothie not taste gross)
1 frozen banana (unfrozen is totally fine; the smoothie will just be thicker and colder if banana is frozen)
3 large stalks of kale, with stalk part removed (or intact, whatever floats your boat)
2 T. flaxseed meal (you can leave this out if you want, but it does provide omega-3s and protein)
4+ ice cubes (you may need more if banana is unfrozen)
Optional: a drop or two of agave nectar, or sweetener of your choice
Stuff everything into a blender and blend until desired consistency. Pour into a large see-through glass (so everyone can see how healthy you are drinking a bright green concoction), add a straw and enjoy!
Nutrition (without agave/sweetener): 276 calories, 3.6g fat, 60.3g carbohydrates, 7.9g dietary fiber, 8g protein. And lots of vitamins.
*Note: You can find coconut water near the bottled water in the grocery store (or you can substitute regular tap water in this recipe; it would cut some calories). Flaxseed meal is usually on the baking aisle. Agave nectar is with the syrup or the sweeteners - if they have it in my mainstream grocery store in Alabama, you've probably got it at yours. Organic kale is available right now at my local farmer's market, and it's way better than the stuff I usually find in the grocery store. But you can get it at your grocery store year-round.