March 11, 2023

You may have heard of omega-3 fatty acids, but are you getting enough of them in your diet? Hy-Vee dietitians have a simple solution for incorporating more omega-3 fatty acids into your diet – seeds! Seeds such as chia, flax and hemp contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids perform a variety of functions in our bodies. Since we can’t naturally produce this essential fatty acid, we should aim to incorporate more into our diets.

Why should you add that extra serving of omega-3 fats into your daily routine? Omega-3 fatty acids are an important component of our cell membranes and are especially high in our retina and brain. They also provide our body with calories and therefore energy to conduct our daily activities. Omega-3 fatty acids are also linked to heart health including reducing our risk of coronary heart disease; they specifically can help raise HDL cholesterol and even lower blood pressure.

Now that you know the why – let’s focus on the what and the how. Here are three seed types that are easy to add into your diet today – plus they pack a few additional health benefits as well.

Flaxseed Meal – On store shelves you will see both whole flax seeds and flaxseed meal. For optimal absorption of nutrients present in these seeds, it is recommended to consume flaxseed meal. Flaxseed meal not only contains omega-3 fatty acids but also protein and fiber to help you fill up faster and feel full longer. Try adding flaxseed meal to your pancake or waffle batter for a nutrient-dense addition that the family won’t even know is there.

Hemp seeds – In addition to omega-3 fatty acids, hemp seeds contain protein and fiber along with iron, potassium and magnesium. Try sprinkling them on top of your next salad or as a perfectly nutty crunch on top of your avocado toast.

Chia seeds – A serving of chia seeds contains protein, fiber, calcium, iron, omega-3 fatty acids in the form of ALA, along with antioxidants. Try adding chia seeds to your favorite smoothie, stir them into your oatmeal or create your own chia pudding with the delicious Tropical Chocolate Chia Pudding recipe below.

Tropical Chocolate Chia Pudding
Serves 6

All You Need:
1 (32-oz) bottle plain unsweetened kefir
½ cup chia seeds
¼ cup Hy-Vee honey
3 cups Good Graces gluten-free dark chocolate and sea salt granola
6 fresh kiwis, peeled and sliced
1 medium mango, peeled, pitted and chopped
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted
Zoet 57% cacao dark chocolate, for garnish (optional)

All you do:

  1. Stir together kefir, chia seeds and honey in a medium bowl.
  2. Divide granola among 6 (1-pint each) canning jars with lids. Arrange kiwi slices around inside of jars. Add kefir mixture to jars. Top with mango, coconut and, if desired, chocolate.
  3. Cover jars with lids; refrigerate 6 hours or overnight. Store in refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Recipe source: ( Are you ready to check your omega-3 level? During the month of March Hy-Vee dietitians are offering a limited number of FREE Omega-3 Index Screenings, thanks to our generous sponsors, GOED and Nordic Naturals. If you are age 18 or older you can request your free screening here and a Hy-Vee dietitian will reach out to you to schedule your appointment. The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.