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Packed with nutrients, kale is one of the best prenatal foods around. But it can also taste like health food—especially to expectant mothers.
But, with the right kitchen techniques, you can turn this nutrient powerhouse into a mouthwatering snack or dish. Read on to learn everything you need to know about this dark leafy green, plus get a recipe for an addictive kale dip.
Although a cup of cooked kale contains a mere 36 calories, it’s not light on nutrients. That amount delivers 3 grams of fiber, as well as 10 percent of your daily requirement of bone-building calcium. A cup of kale also delivers more than all of the vitamins A and C you need in a day. “Both are key for a strong immune system, which can help you fight off colds,” explains Pedersen. And if that wasn’t enough, you’ll also get more than 10 times the recommended amount of vitamin K. “This nutrient helps to keep blood vessels strong,” says Peterson. “That’s particularly important, because pregnant women have added blood flow in their uterine area.”
Although kale is generally in season during cold-weather months, it’s available in grocery stores year-round. There are three main types of kale:
Curly (also called green): This ruffled green kale works well in stir-fries, smoothies and soups, as well as baked into kale “chips.”
Lacinato (also called dinosaur, black or Tuscan): Marked by its dark, bumpy leaves, this variety has a tougher texture and meatier flavor. It holds up in chopped salads and when sliced into ribbons and sautéed.
Red (also called Siberian or Russian): This variety, with its purplish veins, is best when tossed into soups and stir-fries. Because of its thinner leaves, it doesn’t.