What is Swiss Chard?
Swiss Chard is a family member of beets, except it is grown without the large bulb. Swiss chard stems can be found in a variety of colors including green, white, yellow, orange, pink, and red. Depending on the growing season length, the leaves can be large and tougher or small and tender. Chard can be bitter when eaten raw, and cooking will remove some of this bitterness.
Selection and Storage:
Select chard that is bright in color. Regardless of the stem color, leaves should be bright and green. Store swiss chard in a crisper drawer, unwashed, in the refrigerator for 2-4 days. Wrapping it in a damp paper towel will help keep them hydrated.
When preparing chard, wash stems and leaves thoroughly. If stems are thick, separate leaves from stem before cooking so that you can cook the stems a bit longer.
Swiss chard can also be frozen. Prepare as indicated above, then cook the leaves in boiling water for 3 minutes. Remove from water, dry by pressing between paper towels, and store in a freezer bag for up to 3 months. This can be a great way to have non-bitter greens ready for your smoothies. Make this process easier by storing small, smoothie-size batches in sandwich bags before placing them in a larger freezer bag.
Nutrition: 1 cup serving contains:
Calories: 7 Fat: 0 Carbohydrate: 1g Protein: 1g Vitamin and mineral profile: Potassium, calcium, iron, folic acid, magnesium, vitamin A, E, and K
Why is Swiss Chard Important for Spartans
Swiss Chard has a nutrition profile that is beneficial to athletes. Low in carbohydrates and calories and rich in nutrients. Two of importance to athletes include Magnesium and Potassium.
Magnesium supports blood pressure and blood sugar regulation and assists with energy production, protein formation, and muscle contraction.
Potassium helps metabolize carbohydrates, maintain fluid balance, influences muscle contraction, helps regulate heart and nervous system function, and assists protein formation.
Calcium assists constriction and relaxation of blood vessels and the muscles and is part of the process involved in blood clotting.
Athlete highlight: Swiss Chard is easy for any athlete to add to their daily regimen, check out the best pre, post, and anytime smoothies here: Spartan smoothie guide. Simply replace any of the greens with swiss chard (boiled to remove bitterness). Smoothies make a great on-the-go meal. Pair with a Chomps all-natural, non GMO, 100% grass fed snack sticks.