If you’re a fan of the leafy veggie (which has been praised for its mega health and weight loss benefits), you probably love that it’s now available everywhere from McDonald’s to Starbucks. However, if you’re not keen on the green, its omnipresence can be enough to drive you insane.
“Compared to other greens, kale is heartier in texture and has a more robust earthy flavor, so it makes sense that some people just can’t tolerate it,” explains Jennifer Neily, MS, RDN of Neily on Nutrition. If you fall into that category, Neily suggests opting for baby spinach, a green that tends to be more tender and mild.
Read on to learn how it compares to kale, the unofficial king of the produce aisle.
In a new William Paterson University study that compared the 47 top superfoods by nutrient volume, kale came in 15th while spinach stole 5th. But according the Neily, those findings should be taken with a grain of salt. “A colleague of mine once said that the healthiest lettuce is the one you will actually enjoy eating—and that definitely holds true for kale and spinach,” says Neily. “Both greens are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, phytochemicals that ward off age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. Also, they both offer comparable amounts of health-boosting nutrients like vitamin A, phosphorus and B vitamins like folate.” Cup for cup, spinach packs more fatigue-crushing iron, bloat-banishing potassium and folate, likely why it fared better in the study than king kale. However, kale still boasts twice the vitamin C. “You can’t go wrong eating either one,” Neily summed up. Pick whichever one you prefer.
Versatile is a word that can describe both spinach and kale. Both greens can be added to an array of meals ranging from egg dishes to tacos, and drinks like juices and smoothies. You can even use spinach to make chips in the same way you’d prepare the kale variety. Simply dress the leaves in a bit of salt, pepper, garlic powder and olive oil and pop them in a pre-heated 325 degree F oven for 12 minutes.
Both veggies will both cost you the same amount of green. A 5-ounce bag of pre-washed baby spinach generally costs between $3.29 and $3.99, and you’ll dish out the same amount for a box of kale of the same size.