As we all know, flaxseed is a real ‘super food’ as it contains great macro- and micronutrients. It is high in fiber, protein, and omega-3, which is what makes it a popular food in many meals. It’s mostly used in smoothies, types of bread, or even recommended by doctors to treat constipation.
Recently, I wanted to make one of my favorite smoothies and ran out of flaxseed. I had a couple other ingredients in my kitchen that I could substitute it with. Thankfully, I found some great substitutes for flaxseed that can be added into any meal. Almost all of them had pretty similar nutrition, which is also something that’s important to me.
Recommended substitutes for flaxseed
The best substitutes I recommend for flaxseed are:
Chia seeds are considered a real super food, because they are full of greatness. They contain high fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients that everyone can benefit from, no matter the age or activity level.
They are a great substitute to flaxseed in various foods such as smoothies, muffins, and are even a great ingredient to add into self-made bread.
It complements very well with loads of other ingredients, as they don’t have a really strong taste. If water is added to your meal, chia seeds can taste like jellies, which is an awesome experience.
The only thing you have to watch out for, is that you don’t expose chia seeds to moisture. This is because this can cause them to get gelatinous, and not everyone prefers this.
Hemp seeds are a very nutritious substitute for flaxseed that is suited for many type of meals. Just like flaxseed and chia seeds, they are high in fiber and omega-3.
A benefit, when compared to flaxseeds, is that they do not have a hard outer coating. This makes them easier to digest, which is why hemp seeds are often chosen over flaxseed by people with stomach issues.
A small downside to hemp seeds, compared to both seeds above, is that they do not contain the same mucilage. This means that they won’t really help in thickening your meals.
If you’re trying to find a substitute for flaxseed when making bread or other baked good, wheat germ can be a great alternative. It is rich in fiber and essential vitamins such as B and E.
It also has high levels of potassium and iron, which is very useful as many people on the average American diet have a potassium deficiency.
Whole grains such as wheat germ also have the benefit of reducing risk of heart disease.
Nutritional facts of flaxseed and its substitutes
Don’t worry at all if you are ashamed to be a fit freak, because I like healthy eating as well and also pay a lot of attention to calories, macronutrients, etcetera.
First off, here are the nutritional facts of flaxseed (per 1 ounce):
- Calories: 151
- Protein: 5 grams
- Carbohydrates: 8 grams
- Fat: 12 grams
- Fiber: 8 grams
To make it a little easier for you to see which flaxseed substitute is the healthiest, I’ve created an overview of all macronutrients for the substitutes (also per 1 ounce).
Wheat germ could be the best substitute for you, if you’re looking for a low calorie alternative to flaxseed. If you’re aiming to become full, chia seeds are a great substitute as they contain the most fiber.
Pricing of the different flaxseed substitutes
Flaxseed is not the cheapest, which is also the case for most of the substitutes we recommended.
Here is an overview of the pricing at Walmart for the different flaxseed substitutes (per ounce):
- Chia seeds: $0.50
- Hemp seeds: $0.85
- Wheat germ: $0.75
If you’re looking for the cheapest substitute for flaxseed, you’re well off using chia seeds. Hemp seeds and wheat germ are both suited if you’re not on a tight budget.