You may notice that in many of my recipes, I mention adding in products like chia seed, hemp seed, wheat germ, and flax seed. They make excellent, nutrient-rich boosters to a diet. They can help supplement the diet of a picky eater, as well as add healthy fat and calories to the diet of children when being underweight is a concern.
The great thing about these items is that they are pretty much tasteless. You can mix them into oatmeal, yogurt, smoothies, pudding, baked goods, etc. The kids will not even know they are there and will be able to take in fat and calories without a high volume of food. Just one tablespoon of Hemp Seed, for example, contains 58 calories (42 from fat), and 4.5 grams of fat.
My son is small for his age. He has always been an excellent eater, sometimes eating two to three times as much as other kids his age. He is not especially picky and eats a varied diet. Despite this, his friends often tower over him in height, and at 30 lbs and over 3 years old, many 1-year-olds weigh more than he does!
If that’s the size God intended him to be, then that’s fine. But, with his restricted diet, I’ve always been concerned about whether or not he is eating sufficient fat and calories. At this point in time, I’m not so worried, but as I look back to the time when he was first diagnosed with his allergies and I was so overwhelmed with trying to feed him, I’m pretty sure he did not get sufficient fat and calories for at least a 4-6 month period until I finally started figuring things out. I remember researching online foods that will help with toddler weight gain, and almost all of them were dairy and nut based. So, that didn’t help much!
So, if you are in the situation where you are concerned about growth, these seeds and wheat germ are a way to add healthy fat and calories to a diet. I keep four large salt shaker type containers in the fridge (you can see one in the picture above), and only use about a teaspoon to a tablespoon of one each day, spread out over the day in different foods. Because these items are also high in fiber, it can upset little tummies if they have too much. Click here for some other ways to add healthy fat and calories to a diet.
Chia Seed and Hemp Seed can be eaten whole, while flax seed should be bought “milled” and wheat germ is sold as tiny flakes. Wheat germ is excellent in baked goods like muffins and also in pancakes. When you use wheat germ in recipes, substitute ¼ cup of wheat germ for ¼ cup of flour. I normally do not use more than a ¼ cup in a recipe.
Here’s a sampling of their nutritional content (different brands will have different contents, so this is just an example using the brands I purchase) along with a link to Amazon. I've found Amazon's prices overall to be better than the grocery store, especially when using the Subscribe and Save option. But, as always, shop around!
Serving Size: 1 Tablespoon
Calories from Fat: 25
Also contains Calcium, Iron, and Magnesium
Serving Size: ¼ cup
Calories from Fat: 25
Also, very high in Vitamin E, Phosphorus, Iron, and Thiamine, and Niacin
Serving Size: 3 Tablespoons
Calories from Fat: 127
Excellent Source of Omega 3/6 Fatty Acids
Also contains Iron, Phosphorus, Zinc, and Magnesium
Serving Size: 2 Tablespoons
Calories from Fat: 45
Also contains Iron
Excellent Source of Omega 3/6/9 Fatty Acids
Here are a couple links with more information:
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