Spinach should be green with envy, because there’s a new superfood in the produce section. Packed with beta-carotene, vitamins A, C and K and calcium, kale is the latest darling of health-conscious diners.
“It’s taking over the world,” says Katie Waterson, the Capitol Hill mom behind The Kid and the Kale (kidandthekale.com). The company handcrafts fresh, organic baby and toddler foods, which will be available this month through online market Relay Foods (relayfoods.com).
For now, the leafy greens appear in just one item — a garlic-accented pearl couscous — but Waterson may incorporate them into other purees, patties and side dishes going forward. She started using kale a lot at home when she began cooking for her son, Thomas, who is now 18 months old.
“I was trying to find ways to put greens into his food as early as possible,” she says. “I’d mix it into tomato sauce or quinoa. Now he loves it sauteed with a little olive oil and garlic.”
Those cooking sessions — coupled with her frustration over being unable to find fresh, flavorful premade baby foods — inspired her to design her own options for kids.
“Making our own foods felt like another full-time job,” she says. “Weekends would be spent researching, shopping, chopping, roasting and pureeing. So I understand why a lot of parents give up on it and go to shelf-stable foods. I want The Kid and the Kale to be an alternative to that.”
Sneaky Snack Test
The snack aisle is going green this year. Kale is sprouting up in chips, gummies and squeeze packs. To find out if these treats are “rah” or “blah,” we enlisted two brothers as taste testers: 6-year-old Nickolas and 2-year-old Naythan Correa of Brightwood. So they wouldn’t have preconceptions about what they were eating, we didn’t tell them that the snacks contained kale until after they finished.
Snikiddy’s Eat Your Vegetables Chips with Sea Salt
Navy beans, carrots, sweet potatoes and kale are the base ingredients for these crunchy creations. Each individual-size bag counts as a serving of vegetables, a claim you’ll never read on a packet of Cool Ranch Doritos.
Nickolas: Tastes cheesy and so yummy.
Naythan: I want them in my lunch every day.
Plum Organics’ Fruit & Veggie Shredz (Rooty Blues)
These sweet strips look like a fruit leather that’s been put through the paper shredder. The kale is hidden by bolder ingredients, such as blueberries, apples and cherries, that add up to one full serving of fruit in every packet. A great afternoon treat that won’t ruin anyone’s dinner appetite.
Nickolas: I like them. They’re like gummy bears.
Naythan: More, please!
Happy Squeeze’s Fruit & Veggie Twist (Apple Mango Pear & Kale)
Made with all-organic produce, each serving includes 150 percent of the daily allowance of vitamin C. No refrigeration is required before they’re opened, and they’re nearly impossible to pop, making these pouches perfect for squirreling away in lunch boxes, backpacks and the glove compartment.
Nickolas: I’d eat it for a snack at school.
Naythan: (Refuses to take lips off the top long enough to talk) Mmm …