Although I often add chia seeds or sunflower seeds to breads and muffins, I’ve been on a quest to learn how to eat flaxseed and find creative ways to use it.
I’ve actually had a mason jar full of flaxseed in my refrigerator for quite awhile (probably too long!) because my husband had been adding them to yogurt for breakfast, but then he lost interest.
Since I’m allergic to flaxseed, I couldn’t eat it.
My kids however, will eat flaxseed so I did my best to bake with them and I even made flax butter. Eventually however, I ran out of ideas so they just sat there.
It’s unfortunate, because like chia seeds, flaxseed is a superfood and a great way to get more plant-based foods in your kid’s diet.
Yet if you’re unsure like I was about how to eat flaxseed and incorporate them into meals and snacks, I’ve got you covered today.
Flaxseed (sometimes also spelled flax seed) comes from the flax plant, or Linum usitatissimum. These little seeds are smaller than pumpkin seeds and they have a mild nutty flavor and aroma.
Like other types of seeds, flaxseed is packed with nutrition.
One ounce of flaxseed provides a whopping 5.1 grams of protein and 7.6 grams of fiber.
High-fiber foods like flaxseed help to satisfy hunger, balance blood sugar and can help prevent and treat constipation.
Flaxseed is also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, the healthy fats kids need in their diets, and a good source of phosphorous, potassium and magnesium (the calming mineral)
They also contain lignans, which are polyphenols, or plant compounds which may be protective against certain diseases and cancers.
WHAT IS FLAXSEED MEAL?
You can eat flaxseeds in their whole form, but since the body can’t digest them that way, it’s a good idea to grind flaxseed in a food processor, coffee grinder or Vitamix.
You can also purchase ground flaxseed, which may also be called flaxseed meal or flaxseed flour, at the grocery store or health food store.
HOW TO USE FLAXSEED OIL
Flaxseed oil is another way to enjoy flaxseed, although you won’t get the benefits of fiber.
Since flaxseed has a low smoke point (225 F), don’t use it as a cooking oil or reheat it in the microwave. Instead, try drizzling it onto cooked vegetables, or make a homemade salad dressing, sauce or dip.
FLAX SEEDS SIDE EFFECTS
Since consuming flaxseed can worsen constipation, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) says to drink plenty of water with it.
Also, too much flaxseed or flaxseed oil can cause diarrhea so be sure to read labels to keep portions in check.
NCCIH also says to avoid consuming raw or unripe flaxseeds because they could contain potentially toxic compounds.
If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, you should also avoid flaxseed and flaxseed oil due to safety concerns.
WHAT IS FLAXSEED MILK?
There are a ton of non-dairy milks available but flaxseed milk, or flax milk is one of the newest to hit grocery store shelves.
Manitoba Milling Co. and Good Karma are two brands that make it.
According to a May 2019 study in the journal Nutrients, flax milk is made with finely milled flaxseed and filtered water and other minor compounds. It’s also a good alternative to cow’s milk, suitable for people who are allergic to soy, nuts and gluten, and has more health benefits than almond milk.
In fact, flaxseed milk is a good source of vitamins A, B12 and D, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids.
However, it’s important to read labels carefully because some flax milks don’t contain any protein while others get a boost of protein from pea protein.
Also, just like other plant-based milks, it’s important to look for added sugars.
If you’re wondering how to use flaxseed milk, it’s versatile and can be used as a substitute for cow’s milk in any recipe.
HOW TO EAT FLAXSEED
If you want to know how to eat flaxseed, the good news is there are so many healthy and delicious ways to incorporate them into meals and snacks for your kids.
1. BREADS, MUFFINS AND BATTERS
One of the best ways to eat flaxseed is to add it to breads, muffins, pancakes, waffles and other batters. You can also add them to cookies, cakes, and other baked goods.
Or, try adding flaxseed to toast with your child’s favorite nut or seed butter or avocado toast.
Related: 6 Reasons Avocado Is Healthy For Kids
2. HOT AND COLD BREAKFAST CEREALS
Top your child’s morning oatmeal or cold cereal with flax seeds, add them to overnight oats in mason jars, or use them in baked oatmeal like this recipe for Baked Oatmeal With Fruit.
You can even use flaxseeds in place of oats, along with nuts and chia seeds to make a Nut and Seed Overnight N’ Oatmeal.
3. GRANOLA AND GRANOLA BARS
Granola can make for a healthy breakfast or snack, but since many store brands can be high in calories, saturated fat, trans fat, and added sugars, you might want to make your own, which is actually super-easy to do.
Here are two of my favorite recipes:
- The Very Best Granola from Cookie and Kate
- Chewy Peanut Butter Granola Bars from Gimme Some Oven
You can use any recipe and add flaxseed into the mix.
4. YOGURT AND PARFAIT
Top your favorite healthy kids’ yogurt with flaxseeds or layer yogurt, fruit and flaxseeds to make a yummy yogurt parfait.
Adding flaxseed to your green smoothies or smoothie bowls add an extra boost of fiber, protein and healthy fats and makes for a quick and easy breakfast.
Related: How To Make Smoothies For Kids
6. A SUBSTITUTE FOR EGGS
If your child has an egg allergy or you simply need a substitute for recipes that call for eggs like quick breads, muffins, brownies, cookies and pancakes, flaxseed makes a great substitute.
Here’s an easy recipe to make a flax egg.
7. ICE CREAM AND SORBET
Whether it’s store bought or homemade, you can top ice cream, frozen yogurt or sorbet with flaxseed, or make these yummy Yogurt, Flaxseeds and Chocolate Ice Cream Bars.
8. VEGETABLES AND SALAD DRESSINGS
The key to getting kids to eat their vegetables is to find ways to make them healthy and delicious.
Try drizzling flaxseed oil on roasted vegetables, or make a Health Flax & EVO Balsamic Vinaigrette or Caesar Dressing With Flaxseed.
9. PB & J
If you’re looking for nut-free, low-sugar alternatives made with real ingredients for breakfast or a PB&J, flaxseed is a great substitute.
Try these recipes:
10. TRAIL MIX
Trail mix can make for a healthy and easy snack, but many store-bought brands are high in sugar thanks to lots of “yogurt” covered raisins, chocolate chips and candy.
Like granola, you can make your own trail mix with unsalted nuts and seeds, dried fruit, and you guessed it—flaxseed. Try this recipe for Healthy Vegan Trail Mix.
11. FLAXSEED PUDDING
I’m a big fan of chia seed pudding and chocolate avocado pudding, but flaxseed pudding?
As it turns out, it’s a thing and with only a handful of ingredients, it couldn’t be easier to whip up. Check out this recipe for Vegan + Gluten Free Flaxseed Pudding.
12. HUMMUS, SAUCES AND DIPS
I’m a big fan of serving vegetables with hummus, dips and sauces to encourage kids to eat them. Surprisingly, you can use flaxseed to make hummus, sauces and dips.
HOW TO STORE FLAXSEED
Flaxseed, whether in whole form, flaxseed meal, or oil, is sensitive to heat, light and oxygen and can become rancid rather quickly.
Therefore, it’s a good idea to store flaxseed and flax meal in an airtight container in the refrigerator and grind whole flaxseed as you need it. They typically stay fresh for about 4 months.
Flax seed oil should be stored in dark bottles and in a dark, cool place.
For flax milk, some are shelf-stable but be sure to read the label for how to store it.