A registered dietitian nutritionist gives you the scoop on how to get the more of this superfood with some flaxseed recipes.
Flaxseeds are a superfood with health benefits ranging from lowering cholesterol to cancer prevention. But did you know flaxseeds need to be ground in order to give the maximum health benefits? Or that once it’s ground, the flaxseed meal must be stored in the refrigerator? Let’s explore the many ways to savor the health attributes of this powerful seed.
1. Swirl into Smoothies
Flaxseeds are jam-packed with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Put a couple tablespoons of flaxseeds in your blender and pulse for 10 seconds to mill the seeds, or simply buy them ground. Either way, in your refrigerator. Now you’re ready to boost your healthy fat intake by blending a tablespoon or two into some of our most delicious smoothie recipes.
2. Add to Granola
Most Americans fall well below the recommended 25-35 grams of dietary fiber daily. Since 2 tablespoons of flaxseeds have 4 grams of dietary fiber, they can help you reach that goal. Boosting fiber can be as simple as mixing in 2 to 4 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds into your favorite granola. Skip the store-bought stuff and whip up one of these cozy granola recipes.
3. Replace Oil in Baked Goods
Studies show that adding 3 tablespoons of flaxseeds to your diet daily can slash blood cholesterol. Work toward that goal by giving your baking a boost: Substitute ground flaxseeds for some of the oil in a ratio of 3 parts flaxseed to 1 part oil. So, instead of 1 tablespoon of oil, use 3 tablespoons of ground flaxseed. If a recipe calls for 1/2 cup oil, add just 1/4 cup oil and replace the remaining 1/4 cup oil with 3/4 cup ground flaxseeds. Try it out with one of these freshly baked loaves.
4. Swap Out Eggs
You don’t have to be allergic to eggs or vegan to try this simple swap. Flaxseeds create a viscous liquid that mimics an egg, so if you’re out of eggs, mix together 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseeds and 3 tablespoons of water; let the mixture rest while you gather your recipe ingredients. Check out this technique with these Ginger Pear Muffins.
5. Make a Better Breading
Who doesn’t love crispy, crunchy breaded chicken nuggets? Create a better breading by swapping 2 tablespoons of flaxseeds, whole or ground, for 2 tablespoons of flour for every cup of flour in recipes like these zucchini fries and coconut shrimp.
6. Opt for a Meaty Substitute
Whether you’re trying to save your pennies or joining the Meatless Monday movement, adding flaxseeds to a vegetarian burger recipe is a great way to create a meaty flavor (umami). Flaxseeds help bind the ingredients together, so ditch the breadcrumbs and blend in 1/4 cup of ground flaxseeds instead. Bonus: flaxseeds are gluten-free!
8. Make a Healthier Spread
Flaxseeds, much like sunflower seeds, have enough healthy fats to create a creamy, buttery spread. The taste of flaxseed butter on its own may not be as appealing to you just yet, so for a simple start, add ground flaxseeds to your favorite peanut butter or other nut spread.
9. Boost Soups
Swap out part of the butter or cream for 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds in a creamy soup, creating a velvety and nutty finish in soups. For the finishing touch, add a dash of whole flaxseeds on top for a pop of color and crunch for the finishing touch. This swap will go perfectly with any of these creamy, dreamy soup recipes.
10. Sprinkle on Top
Looking for the easiest way to add in flaxseeds every day? Simply sprinkle ground flaxseeds on any kind of oatmeal or yogurt for a healthy start to your morning. Try a tablespoon of milled flaxseeds on this Apple Yogurt Parfait or in this Peanut Butter Oatmeal recipe. Overnight oats deserve a nutritional boost from flaxseeds, too!