Quinoa and Kale

by Bethany Lalonde

Baking the leaves of kale makes nutritious, low-fat chips.

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Chock full of nutrients and health benefits, quinoa and kale contain a host of essential nutrients that are vital for optimal health. Quinoa and kale can be combined together to make a single dish, or eaten separately. Regardless, their health benefits remain the same. You can find both kale and quinoa in most grocery stores, as well as health food stores. Kale is in the produce aisle, and quinoa in either the bulk foods section, in the natural foods aisle or with other grains such as rice.

The Nutrition of Quinoa

Originally from South America, quinoa is a nutrient-packed grain that is easy to cook. It is also the only complete protein that is also plant-based, making it a unique source of low-fat, non-animal protein. A 1-cup serving of cooked quinoa contains 222 calories per serving, 4 grams of fat, no cholesterol and 8 grams of protein. A 1-cup serving also provides you with a number of B vitamins, including 19 percent of your daily requirement for folate, 11 percent of vitamin B6 and 12 percent of riboflavin. The same-sized serving contains 118 milligrams of magnesium, almost 3 milligrams of iron, and 318 milligrams of potassium.

The Nutrition of Kale

With its dark green leaves and paler green central stem, kale is a tough-leafed vegetable that you can eat cooked or raw. A 1-cup serving of raw kale has only 33 calories and contains no fat or cholesterol, and it has 2 grams of protein. Rich in a number of vitamins, one cup of kale has 206 percent of your daily vitamin A requirement; 134 percent of your vitamin C requirement; and 684 percent of your daily vitamin K requirement. It also has smaller amounts of the B vitamins, as well as some calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium -- all in quantities that equal less than 10 percent of your daily requirement.

Quinoa and Kale Dietary Fiber

Both quinoa and kale are rich in dietary fiber. A 1-cup serving of kale contains 5 percent of your daily fiber requirements, and a same-sized serving of quinoa contains 21 percent of your daily requirement. In addition to adding bulk to food, dietary fiber has a number of health benefits. It helps slow down the passage of food through your intestinal tract, allowing more time for the nutrients to be absorbed. It also helps add bulk to food, preventing you from overeating and it helps with preventing constipation. The American diet often lacks enough dietary fiber, so including quinoa, kale -- or both -- in your regular diet will help you increase your fiber intake.

How to Make Quinoa and Kale

Although you can eat kale raw or lightly cooked, you must cook quinoa thoroughly for your body to digest it. With both foods, cook using a low-fat technique and minimal amounts of added fat or salt to keep your quinoa and kale healthy and nutritious. If you need oil to cook your kale or to dress your cooked quinoa, choose a healthier fat option such as olive oil, rather than butter or animal-based fats, which are high in saturated fat. When cooking your quinoa or kale, add dried spices to the cooking process to increase taste without extra sodium. Dried basil, thyme, garlic powder or oregano will stand up well against the strong tastes of both quinoa and kale.

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About the Author

Bethany Lalonde has been a professional writer since 1997. She has published for CBS Health Watch, WebMD, the "Ann Arbor Daily News" and "Entertainment Weekly." She holds two masters degrees from the University of Michigan, in dietetics and nutrition as well as journalism.