When we decided to try Clay on a dairy free diet, I was quite concerned about how I would meet his protein needs with missing out on 16 grams of protein each day that milk had been providing…not to mention the Greek yogurt and cheese that would now be excluded too. I blogged about that process here.
One of the products I became very interested in using was hemp hearts. They are a source of complete protein, which is rare for a plant based food and means that the body can use them directly to make body proteins. (Other plant based foods that provide complete proteins are quinoa, soy, and chia.)
Costco carries Manitoba Harvest shelled hemp hearts, so I decided to try those and have loved making many products with them for almost a year now. I recently received a bag directly from the company with an offer to give one of my readers a free bag as well. Here is some information about them and ways that I used them in case you want to try them too.
As I mentioned above, they are a source of complete protein. 3 Tbsp. provides 10 grams of protein which is about the same as a cup of cow’s milk or soy milk (both have 8-9 grams per cup). By adding 3 Tbsp. of hemp hearts to a cup of almond or coconut milk, you have created a more nutritious milk alternative.
Hemp hearts are also a source of omega 3 fatty acids. These are essential fatty acids, which means that the body cannot make them. I’ve blogged before about the importance of omega 3 for our bodies at all stages of life. Starting from in the womb, while breastfeeding, and all throughout childhood, it helps in brain development. Research has also shown that later in life it continues to support mental health. Omega 3 also serves an anti-inflammatory role in the body, among many other roles.
In terms of flavour and texture profile, hemp hearts have a ever so slight nutty flavour and are crunchy when sprinkled on things and add wonderful creaminess to any smoothie.
Our whole family enjoys them. Here are my top 5 ways that I use them.
1. Breakfast or lunch wrap/sandwich: Whole grain wrap or toast, spread with natural almond or peanut butter, sprinkle hemp hearts, role up/out pieces of toast together, and serve with your choice of fruit (or put the fruit right in the sandwich/wrap.
2. Smoothie: Almond or coconut milk with any fresh or frozen fruit and 2-3 Tbsp. hemp hearts. Matcha powder can be a fun addition too! My kids and I also enjoy the Manitoba Harvest Hemp Smoothie Powder.
3. Salad topper: as I mentioned, hemp hearts add a nice crunch, so you can add them on top of any salad before or after you toss it.
4. Breakfast pizza: you can find this recipe here.
5. Banana snacks: my kids love when I slice a banana and toll the slices in hemp hearts. The slices are always gone in a matter of seconds.
You can also add hemp hearts to any recipe you make for muffins, pancakes, or cookies! There is always room for a nutrition boost when baking!
I hope this gives you some fun ideas on how to use this nutrition packed product.
If you are interested in winning a bag of your own, there is still time to enter. Visit my Instagram feed @mealsformeandmyminis and look for the giveaway post from Tuesday July 16th.
Thanks for reading.
Until next time…stay healthy!!!