Meghan Tiernan (MS, RD, LDN) is a registered dietitian with a passion for helping others achieve a healthy lifestyle. She strives to help others learn the most nutritious way to eat, in order to achieve good health. Meghan enjoys cooking and running and believes that with just some basic knowledge, you can gain the confidence in yourself to know that you can eat well.

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Dietitian Consult

by Meghan Tiernan, MS, RD, LDN

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Nuts have been a part of healthy diet recommendations for a long time. But there are some new sources of nutrients that are getting more attention these days. They are the counterpart to nuts... seeds!

Chia Seeds, and nutrition facts about all types of seeds!There are several types of seeds you can add to your diet, which can significantly improve your health. Seeds have multiple health benefits including protein, fiber, essential fatty acids... as well as being very versatile, making them an easy addition to your diet.

A few of the common seeds include sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. They are rich in iron, protein, magnesium, iron and zinc. These seeds can be added to salads, stir-fries, or eaten as a snack (more the pumpkin seeds than the sesame seeds). Sesame seeds when pureed are called tahini, which is a main ingredient in most hummus recipes. You can find roasted pumpkin seeds in many grocery stores these day, and of course, they’re in abundance in the fall.

Two of the newer seeds on the block, which have gotten a lot of attention lately, are flax seeds and chia seeds. These two seeds are incredibly versatile and are packed with nutrients. Let’s look at each of these a little closer.

Chia seeds, in general, have a very neutral flavor, making them easy to add to many different foods. They are high in fiber - 1 ounce of chia seeds has 10g of fiber, almost half of your daily recommended fiber per day. In addition to the fiber, an ounce of chia seeds is only 138 calories. They are great sources of iron, potassium, calcium, omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants as well. All in all, chia seeds are quite the food. They can be eaten dry or soaked, and they don’t need to be ground in order for your body to absorb them, although they are easier to absorb when soaked. It usually takes about 10-15 minutes of soaking in the liquid of your choosing to get them to that gelatinous consistency. They do get slimy when they get wet, and since they don’t really have a flavor they can be added to many things without impacting the flavor. You can add chia seeds to oatmeal, salads, yogurt, smoothies and soups, just to name a few. They can also be used as an oil or egg replacement in recipes, and flax seed can be used as a replacement as well (I’ll give you some guidance for this below). You can also try your own chia seed pudding. It is so delicious and so good for you. Here is the recipe:

Chia Seed Pudding:
Serves 6

2/3 cup chia seeds
2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
&half/ tsp vanilla extract
Any toppings you choose (craisins, dates, cinnamon, etc)

Mix chia seeds, almond milk and vanilla together well.
Refrigerate overnight
Serve and enjoy with toppings of your choosing!
whole foods recipe)

Flax seeds are another very beneficial seed to add to your diet. You can get them ground or whole, but they need to be ground in order to get any benefits from them. Be sure to keep them refrigerated whichever way you buy them to preserve their nutrients. Flax seeds have more flavor than chia seeds, so they can’t be disguised as easily, but they can still be added to many of the same things as chia seeds. An ounce of flax seed has 8 grams of fiber and 151 calories. They are also a great source of magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids. They can be added to yogurt, oatmeal, smoothies and any baked goods. Flax seed can also be used as an egg or oil substitute since it becomes gelatinous when ground and mixed with water.

Here are some guidelines for how to utilize flax and chia seeds:

Egg replacement:

To substitute for one egg:

- Take 1 tablespoon of ground flax or chia seeds and mix with 3 tablespoons of room temperature water or other liquid (as long as it’s room temperature).
- Allow the mixture to sit for 5-10 minutes until it turns into a thick gel.
- Use as you would an egg in your recipe

Fat replacement:

- Determine how much fat is called for in the recipe. If you are replacing all the fat, multiply that amount by 3. If a recipe calls for 1/3 cup of butter, for instance, use 1 cup of flax seed gel or chia seed gel.
- If you are replacing half the fat, divide the amount of fat in the recipe by 2. If, for instance, the recipe calls for 1 cup of butter, use ½ cup butter and ½ cup flax or chia seed gel.
- To make the gel, use 9:1 water to flax or chia seed meal ration. Pour the water into a bowl, mix well and let it sit for a few ...    Continue

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