While writing this I ate three pieces of cherry Laffy Taffy from the Halloween basket (and if the basket wasn’t downstairs, it would have been more) so I’m not exactly a nutritional saint, even now.

But, in the last few days I have made some very tasty, very righteous recipes featuring the nutritional powerhouses walnuts, barley, and kale. I wanted to share them with you because they are really good, really good for you, and quick and simple to make. Nutritional virtue was never so easy.

First, a few words about our healthy-living sponsors: walnuts, barley, and kale.

WALNUTS

Walnuts are energy-dense (that’s code for high in calories; 185 in just one ounce) but worth it, especially for heart health. They are high in omega-3 fatty acids (as in 90% of your daily recommended amount in just one ounce), vitamins like E and B6, niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, and folic acid, as well as minerals like potassium, calcium, iron, and more. (Niacin, omega-3s, and fiber are like the trifecta of cholesterol improvement.) Walnuts also pack a fiber and protein punch, and oh yeah, they taste good.

BARLEY

I really love barley. It has a superb texture, nutty flavor, and an inexplicable ability to make whatever it is cooked with taste rich, decadent, and smooth, almost buttery. All that from a humble little seed.

Barley is a low-glycemic grain (good, because my carb intake is really too high right now), and high in both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps the body metabolize fats, cholesterol, and carbohydrates, and lowers blood cholesterol levels. It is also a good source of niacin, vitamin E, and antioxidant lignans (also found in the super-food flax).

KALE

Not just a pretty leaf, kale is one of the healthiest foods you can eat. One cup of kale contains only 36 calories, but five grams of fiber, along with 15% of your daily calcium and vitamin B6, 180% of your vitamin A, 100% of your vitamin C, and and 1,020% of your vitamin K, along with 40% of the magnesium you need, plus iron, potassium, and copper, and the antioxidants carotenoids and flavonoids. The fiber makes it especially heart-healthy, but it is also good for your eyes and has numerous anti-cancer benefits.

In case you are thinking that ingredients this healthy cannot taste delicious and decadent (and no way will my kids eat it!), stay with me. These recipes are my-kitchen-tested and even kid-approved (and of course, ultra low in saturated fat), so try one and savor the feeling of delicious nutritional virtue.

RECIPE: MUSHROOM AND BARLEY SOUP WITH KALE
RECIPE: KALE RED PEPPER PESTO
RECIPE: KALE PUTTANESCA

 

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