There’s a cool, not-so-new veggie in town, my friends, and its name is kale.

Actually, this veggie was, and probably still is, most famous for lining the ice bins at your nearest restaurant salad bar. Well, the times they are a-changing, and the decoration that used to get thrown out after a hard days work is finally being appreciated for its dark-green looks and nutritional sex appeal. Kale is being whipped into smoothies, oven-baked into tasty chips, and gently tossed into salads like never before.

Kale is a vegetable that some might call a “superfood” due to its powerful, nutritional punch. Kale is a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables that includes brussel sprouts, broccoli, and cabbage. The word on the street is that these cruciferous veggies may offer powerful protection against cancer, in addition to providing high levels of the antioxidant Vitamins A, and C, and Vitamin K. Antioxidants, as you know, may help delay the aging process and increase our longevity. All of that is pretty darn good, but wait – there’s more!

There’s an essential fatty acid that’s getting a lot of attention lately as well. You know the one – Omega-3. Turns out that most of us aren’t getting enough of that kind of fat in our diets. Well, kale’s got some of that too. And let’s not forget all of the fiber, iron and calcium it provides. Where does it stop?

Now, I know what you’re thinking. How can I incorporate kale into my life? Would you believe me if I said it was super easy to do? Here are just a few ways you can experiment with it – try a few of these to see which best fits into your lifestyle:

Salad: Tear the leaves off of the main stalk and throw them into your next salad. Lightly massaging them until they are soft also makes them less bitter.

Kale Chips: Put the leaves (minus the stalks) on a lightly-oiled baking sheet after tossing with a little oil and a dash of salt, and bake them at 325F for about 10-15 minutes or until the leaf edges turn light brown. Enjoy immediately!

Smoothies: Place about one cup of the kale leaves into a powerful blender and get creative!

You could add various fruits (bananas, blueberries, apricots), use fruit juices (not too much!) or non-dairy milks to adjust the thickness of the smoothie, and even throw in some ground flax seeds or chia seeds for an additional fiber and Omega-3 boost. There are no limits to the variety of kale smoothies you can create!

Kale really is a powerhouse of nutrition, and any way that you can find to incorporate it into your diet is a good thing. Anti-cancer? Antioxidants? All of those vitamins and minerals? I don’t need to be told twice. I think it’s about time that kale earned a spot in your refrigerator’s veggie bin, don’t you?