“Good for you” has the stigma of tasting bad. I’d like to change that – one recipe at a time.
As CEO of my household, I’m in charge of lots of things. Laundry, feeding the fish (that died), cooking, shopping… and it’s because of those last two that I’m also in charge of my family’s nutrition.
I do the shopping. I do the cooking. Therefore, whatever goes into their bodies is a direct result of my choices.
It was this revelation that led me to re-think what my family eats and actually give it serious consideration. I necessary wasn’t feeding my family bad things, but there are so many foods out there that are INSANELY good for our bodies, and I had ruled them out before even giving them a chance.
Take flax for example: have you ever heard of it before? If you meant saw-it-in-a-vegan-recipe-and-thought-they-were-crazy-type-of-heard, then sure I’ve heard of it before. But didn’t really know anything until I did some research.
Katie at Kitchen Stewardship has a knack for the science behind food and has some good information on flax (whole seed, ground and oil), but it’s basically made up of three main ingredients:
- Omega-3 Fatty Acid (a “good” fat for heart and bone health)
- Lignans (free-radical fighting antioxidant found red wine; also shown to interfere with cancer-promoting effects of estrogen and promotes regular digestion)
- Fiber (helps keep the pipes clean)
No one likes clogged pipes… 😉
I can’t give you an entire line up of every single good-for-you ingredient, but I would take a guess that flax seed is towards the top of the list of affordability. I was able to find a 48oz re-sealable bag of organic ground flax seed at Costco for $6.79. One serving is two tablespoons, making it only 7 cents per serving. I haven’t checked, but I’m sure Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s or your local health food store carries it.
Flax can be used as a substitute for eggs (for those who are vegan or allergic), but I use it most often in my lunches, my baked goods and my smoothies.
If you haven’t noticed already, my family and I are fond of muffins… our stand-by banana chocolate chip, the cake-like spiced carrot, or the holiday favorite cranberry almond… I mean, who wouldn’t want to eat this hunk of baked yumminess, served with a hot cup of coffee or a tall glass of ice cold milk?!
In fact, we’ve only met one muffin that we didn’t like and to be honest, I don’t really think it counts because it didn’t come from my kitchen. 😉
Flax has a “nutty” flavor, but when you add just a serving or two to a batch of something (or a recipe that already has nuts in it) you can’t really taste it. I’ve made nearly duplicate muffins where one had it and one didn’t and neither the kids nor the husband noticed.
I sneaked in nutrition, giving an extra oomph to unsuspecting taste testers.
The only difference I personally can see in the final results (and it’s probably only because I know I put it in there) is that flax seed makes it more bindy.
Is bindy a word?
Probably not, but you know how eggs makes baked goods bind together? Like a glue? Flax seed does the same thing, but in a subtle manner. In a blind taste test, my family actually preferred the muffins with flax because they tend to be more moist and don’t crumble apart when you take bites.
And yes, I actually blind folded the kids and husband!
Kidding… but that would be fun!
My magic ratio is one tablespoon of flax for every cup of flour. I used to take one tablespoon of flour out in order to keep the total amount of dry ingredients the same, but I don’t really do that anymore unless my flax is up to 1/4 cup or more.
Notice that I’m only adding a little – not a lot. Adding more would significantly alter my recipe – and that’s fine – but it’s not my goal.
My goal is to increase the nutrition of the food we already eat, without sacrificing taste or altering family favorite recipes.
If you enjoy smoothies, add 1 tablespoon per serving in the blender. I normally have a bowl of various nuts, seeds and fruit for lunch (pictured at the top of the post) so I sprinkle a tablespoon or two right on top!