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What seed?

A hot trend in the grocery store these days, seeds are taking the "health food" section by storm. First there was flaxseed, then came chia seeds, now hemp seeds are all the rage. What's the deal with these crunchy, granola -like fare? But why are these seedlings are a good inclusion in your diet?

First off, allow me to address this term "hemp"- yes, these seeds come from the Cannabis plant family, but the seeds do NOT contain THC, the active agent in marijuana. Rather, hemp seeds are a source of high quality protein (5g per serving) at only 90 calories for a 2 tablespoon serving. This sodium free food does contain fat (6g per serving) but no cholesterol, and has 2g of fiber to boot! Other tag along nutrients include iron, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin E, potassium and calcium!

"Great…but, how do I use these?" is the next question that never fails to be asked. Most typically, they are eaten raw, sprinkled into/on top of other dishes. The nutty flavor they provide lends well to both savory and sweet dishes alike! Some common ways to incorporate them include: on yogurt or oatmeal, baked into baked goods, stirred into soups, blended in a smoothie, tossed in a salad or stir fry, or most creatively, substituted for pine nuts when making pesto! Products are made from hemp, including hemp meal, hemp milk and hemp seed oil.

Here is a recipe to get your feet wet in using these little buggers. Increasing the nutrient value of foods by sneaking in extra ingredients is never a bad thing!

Pumpkin Hemp Seed Bread (Serves 18)


- 1 2/3 c flour

- ¾ c sugar

- 1 tsp baking soda

- 1 tsp ground cinnamon

- ¾ tsp salt

- ½ tsp baking powder

- ½ tsp ground nutmeg

- ¼ tsp ground cloves

- 2 large eggs

- 1 cup canned pumpkin

- ½ cup hemp seed oil

- ½ c water

- ½ c hemp seeds, raw shelled

- ½ c dried cranberries, optional


- In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, nutmeg and cloves. In a medium size bowl, whisk the eggs, pumpkin, oil and water. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in hemp seeds and cranberries.

- Coat a 9x5" loaf pan with nonstick spray. Pour batter into greased pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes before moving to wire rack.

Source: Jessica Cording, MS, RD, LDN; Recipe: Jodie Shield MEd, RDN, LDN. Food and Nutrition Magazine November/December 2014.