I am a Southerner….and I like collard greens. But, I have to throw in a disclaimer. Usually, these lovely leaves start out healthy, but end up quite the opposite. After you throw in fried potatoes, pinto beans (cooked with bacon, of course), cornbread (cooked in a cast iron skillet, of course) and fried chicken or pork chops…..you’ve pretty much ruined any chance of healthy this vegetable had! But, there is hope! Substitute the above with a grilled chicken breast and a few small, baked red potatoes and you’ve got the healthy back! Check out the next article in the Michi’s Ladder series by Beachbody’s Denis Faye.

Climbing Michi’s Ladder: Collard Greens
By Denis Faye

Look out! Superfood alert! Although popular in the South with the likes of fried chicken and corn bread, this deep green, leafy veggie is all kinds of healthy. It’s closely related to kale and is a member of the Brassica family, which includes broccoli and cauliflower.

The nutrition facts

One cup of boiled collard greens is 49 calories with 5 grams of fiber. Now, sit down and prepare for the avalanche of micronutrients you get with those 49 calories: 1,045 percent of the recommended daily allowance (RDA)* for vitamin K; 308 percent for vitamin A; 58 percent for vitamin C; 8 percent for vitamin E; 27 percent for calcium; 12 percent for iron; 10 percent for magnesium; 6 percent for potassium; 4 percent for copper; and 41 percent for manganese. You also get decent RDA hits of thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium. Phew!

They also contain phytonutrients that have been shown to lessen the occurrence of several different cancers and lower cholesterol.

How do you eat this stuff?

Like many leafy greens, you’re better off boiling or sautéing collard greens. The traditional way to prepare them is boiling them with smoked turkey necks, but if you don’t want to get too Dukes of Hazzard about it, you can chop them up and boil them in a watered-down low-sodium chicken or veggie stock instead, and they’ll still be good eatin’.

And if you want to impress the Bo, Luke, or Daisy in your life, serve them with black-eyed peas.

1 cup of collard greens, boiled and drained (190 g)
Calories: 49
Fat: 1 g
Carbs: 9 g
Fiber: 5 g
Protein: 4 g

Source: www.nutritiondata.com

Michi’s Ladder is Beachbody’s guide to nutritious eating. If you only ate from Tiers 1 and 2, you would have a near-perfect diet!