Eat More Vegetables

Eat more vegetables - Kristin BayerI needed to eat more vegetables. It’s one of those things we all know we need to do. But do we do it? Meh.

There are plenty of reasons to cook and eat healthy food. I’m sure you have a list. As for me, I have a child who needs to eat nutritious food as she grows. I have a husband I love and want to keep around. I have my own health and fitness to think about. So, what was it that finally got me to make a move? It’s the time I went for a physical and my doctor kindly told me that my blood pressure was too high, my cholesterol was too high and my blood sugar was too high. None of them were at dangerous levels (yet), but none of them had been in the red zone before, and now they all were. And none of them were going to get lower on their own. And, oh yeah, I could stand to lose a few pounds, too. Thanks.

That appointment was what finally lit my fire.

The doctor recommended a Mediterranean diet, so I stopped at the library on the way home and checked out all their Mediterranean diet cookbooks. It was a decent first step to breaking out of my cooking and eating ruts. Some of the recipes looked great, and different from what I’d been making, and I was excited to try them.

Then I signed up with Imperfect Foods to have boxes of organic vegetables brought to my door on a regular basis. With vegetables coming into the house every week, we’d have to eat more of them or let them rot in the refrigerator, which would waste food and money, both of which I hate to do. And by letting someone else choose my produce, I’d be forced to expand my repertoire, and try new dishes.

And, let’s face it, they’d have to taste good, if I was going to stick with this.

I’m not a chef. I’m not even a great cook. But I can read a recipe, and I love my family. And this is my journey to eat more vegetables. Thanks for joining me!

Tasty Kale Chips – or How to Use Up Kale

Tasty Kale Chips - How to Use Up KaleThe first thing I did after starting on my challenge to eat more vegetables is subscribe to services that deliver organic produce to my front porch every week. Between a CSA share from a local organic farm and a subscription to Imperfect Foods, I now bring in a much larger quantity and variety of fruits and vegetables than I ever used to buy for myself. The upside is that we now eat a much larger quantity and variety of fruits and vegetables.

But there is a downside. Sometimes things pile up that I don’t really care for or don’t know what to do with. Exhibit A – three bunches of kale sitting in my refrigerator last week.

I know that kale has enjoyed a recent surge in popularity, but my family just wasn’t feeling it, and I was at risk for composting a lot of kale. So, it was time to search out some recipes, and try some new things.

I was lucky. The very first recipe I found was Kale Chips, and it was a hit. Even though my first attempt wasn’t quite right – I doubted the recipe and used too much salt – we still ate every crumb while the chips were still cooling on the pan. After some tweaking, the second try was even better, and again, they were gone before I had a chance to put them in a bowl. And remember, this is from people who thought they hated kale.

If you have some kale to use up, or even if you’re one of those people who buy it on purpose, I hope you enjoy these kale chips. They’re light and crispy, simple to make, and a healthy snack. And they’re really, really good.

Tasty Kale Chips in the Oven
Kale shrinks a lot as it cooks.

Tasty Kale Chips

½ bunch kale leaves (if using an entire kale bunch, double the recipe, and make it in two batches)
1½ tsp olive oil

  • Preheat oven to 300F.
  • Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Remove leaves from the kale stems and tear them into large pieces. Wash and spin the leaves until they’re as dry as you can get them.
  • In a large bowl, use your fingers to massage the oil into the kale leaves until they’re well coated with oil.

¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp sea salt

  • Sprinkle the spice mixture into the kale and toss to combine.
  • Spread the kale on the baking sheet in a single layer – don’t overcrowd the kale.
  • Bake for 25 minutes.
  • Cool the kale briefly and enjoy.

Adapted from Oh She Glows. I was excited to discover this site, and I recommend checking it out.

How is Kale Good for You?

According to WebMD, Kale is a superfood, high in the following:

  • Protein
  • Fiber
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K
  • Folate (a B vitamin)
  • Alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid)
  • And also: Lutein, Zeaxanthin, Phosphorus, Potassium, Calcium and Zinc

It can help lower cholesterol, prevent cancer, and it’s low-calorie but filling, so it can help you lose weight.