If you resolved to have a healthier, happier 2013, consider adding some (or all) of these nutritional powerhouses to your diet. For recipe inspiration, check out our recipe collection on our website.
- Flaxseed Meal: Flaxseeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, delivering a whopping 2400 milligrams in each 2 Tbsp serving of Flaxseed Meal. Ground flax also delivers 4 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein per serving. Seeds should be ground to reap the benefits of flax, however, whole seeds make a wonderful addition to breads and other baked goods. Bonus: Flaxseed Meal makes a great egg substitute in most baking. See below for directions.
- Hemp Seed: Like flax, hemp seeds are chock full of omega-3 fatty acids, delivering 880 milligrams in each 2 Tbsp serving. Unlike flax, these seeds do not need to be ground to enjoy their nutritional punch. Hemp seeds are creamy and nut-like in texture and flavor. Larger than a sesame seed, but smaller than a sunflower seed, these little babies are a great addition to hot cereal, salads and baked goods. A 2 Tbsp serving will deliver 5 grams of protein, making them a perfect addition to breakfast or a post-exercise snack. Bonus: Hemp is a complete protein! This makes it ideal for vegetarian and vegan diets.
- Chia Seed: Chia is the darling of nutritionists these days and it’s easy to see why. Like flax and hemp, chia is a wonderful source of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and protein. Each 1 Tbsp serving delivers 2900 milligrams of omega-3, 5 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein. Chia does not need to be ground to enjoy its health benefits, but some people find it easier to digest chia gel. See below for making chia gel. The seeds can be added to hot cereal, baked goods, smoothies and all sorts of wonderful dishes. Bonus: The fiber in chia has the ability to thicken, making it ideal for refrigerator jam, thickening sauces or using as an egg in baking.
- Almond Meal: Almonds are notoriously healthy nuts providing a good amount of manganese and vitamin E, as well as a healthy serving of monounsaturated fats in each 1/4 cup serving. Not only do almonds have a healthy boost of protein, they are also very low in carbohydrates. Eating whole almonds is terrific, but did you know that adding almond meal to your baking and cooking can bring the health benefits of almonds to your diet, as well as cutting back on carbohydrate consumption? Replacing 1/4 cup of white flour in your baking with almond meal will add wonderful texture and flavor and reduce the carbohydrate load. These days, baked goods using exclusively almond meal can be found all over the web for those that need to watch their sugars. Bonus: Almond meal makes a great coating for fish and chicken in place of flour or cornmeal.
- Coconut Flour: Once consigned to the category of nutritional no-no’s, coconut has seen a resurgence in popularity due to new studies that have found it to be a highly nutritious food. While everything made from coconut may not be good for you, some coconut products are very good for you. Coconut flour is one of these mind-bogglingly nutritious foods. A single 2 Tbsp serving of coconut flour delivers 5 grams of fiber! The light flavor allows coconut flour to blend seamlessly into sweet or savory baked goods. Like almond meal, coconut flour has a low carbohydrate load, making it ideal for people who must manage their carbohydrate intake. Coconut flour is gaining in popularity, but it is still a tricky flour to bake with. We recommend starting with some recipes to get the hang of it, as it requires an unusual amount of liquid to balance out the high amount of fiber. Adding 2 Tbsp to a protein rich smoothie is a great way to get a little more fiber into your diet. Bonus: Like almond meal, coconut flour also makes a wonderful coating for chicken, fish or other proteins in place of regular flour or cornmeal.
What super foods would you add to this list?
Using Flaxseed Meal as an Egg Replacement:
Flaxseed meal makes a great egg replacement for muffins, quick breads and other baked goods with a heartier texture. It does not work as well for recipes with a lighter texture such as a white cake or sugar cookies (it will likely work, but the texture will be different and some visual appeal may be lost). It also does not work very well in egg-heavy dishes such as quiches, stratas and frittatas. Use this formula to substitute for one egg. Double for two eggs, triple for three eggs, and so on…
1 Tbsp Flaxseed Meal
3 Tbsp Water
Combine flaxseed meal and water and allow to sit for about 5 minutes. Add this ingredient to your recipe as you would the eggs.
Making Chia Gel:
2 Tbsp Chia Seed
1 cup Water
Combine chia seed and water and allow to sit for about 15 minutes.