It's safe to say that seaweed is having a moment! Walk into any grocery store and you’d be hard-pressed not to find some form of seaweed product on the shelf. And for good reasons – seaweed offers a powerhouse of nutrients needed for good health, and it’s one of the most environmentally sustainable foods on Earth. Despite all the goodness, many people are not familiar with the benefits of seaweed or are not convinced this is something they should be eating. If that’s you - keep reading. We’ve got three dietitian-approved reasons why you and your family should add seaweed to your grocery list.
1. Seaweed is extremely nutritious
Seaweed is a superfood: It is packed with plant protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that work synergistically to keep your body functioning at its best. Seaweed is an excellent source of many nutrients such as vitamin B12 and iodine, which, although needed in small amounts, are absolutely essential for keeping you and your family healthy.
- Iodine is essential for proper thyroid function – the thyroid glands produce several hormones that control metabolism, growth, and development. In children, these hormones play a pivotal role in cognitive development.
- Vitamin B12 is important for the development of the nervous system and the production of red blood cells, which transport oxygen throughout the body. B12 is especially important during pregnancy as it plays a role in fetal brain development, and continues to contribute to a child’s cognitive function during growth.
- Dietary fiber is essential for digestive health. Some of the fiber in seaweed is prebiotic, a type of fiber that feeds the good bacteria in the gut, promoting a healthy balance of beneficial microbes.
- Finally, seaweed supports cardiovascular health, one reason being that it is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which play a role in reducing the risk for heart disease. You may have heard of fish being a good source of omega-3s, but guess where fish get it from? From eating sea vegetables, aka seaweed.
2. Seaweed is easy to incorporate into your kids’ diet
Sometimes, incorporating new foods into your family’s diet can be difficult. While some healthy foods require cooking skills, others are so exotic you may not even know what to do with them. Luckily, when it comes to seaweed snacks, it is quite simple. Because they are shelf-stable and ready-to-eat, seaweed snacks don’t need to be prepped, cooked, or refrigerated. They are very versatile and can be consumed as-is as a snack, used as a low-carb alternative for taco shells, or added into recipes such as soups, pasta, or baked goods (we love this Seaweed Granola) and even into dips. If you want to get creative, make sure to check out our recipes page. Plus, seaweed snacks are gluten-free and come in single-serve packs, making them a great option for the school lunch box.
3. Seaweed offers a much healthier alternative to snacking
Building healthy habits starts at home. Establishing a nutritious eating pattern from early childhood is very important as children tend to carry those habits throughout adult life.
Children who grow up eating calorie-dense foods such as chips, sweets, processed meats, and sugary cereals, are more likely to consume these foods during adulthood, putting them at a higher risk for chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. And, as it is well documented, the over-consumption of highly processed foods and sugar-sweetened beverages is a key driver of childhood obesity, affecting 1 in 5 children in the U.S. Introducing nutritious foods and snacks from an early age can help children promote healthier eating habits and better overall health. Seaweed snacks are a great alternative to traditional salty snacks as they offer an array of nutrients while being low in calories, low sodium, and free of cholesterol.
As parents, it can be challenging to find a snack that is both tasty and good for your kiddos (and you shouldn’t have to sacrifice health for flavor). Enter seaweed: A superfood that has been made into a crispy, salty and satisfying snack, giving you an easy way to maximize your family’s nutrition, every day. Plus, it’s dietitian-approved! Because healthy eating should not be difficult.
About the Author
Carolina Schneider, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian and a writer specializing in plant-based nutrition. Carolina has followed a vegan diet for almost a decade and is passionate about helping others incorporate more plants into their diet. Carolina is the founder of Hungry for Plants, a company dedicated to offering nutrition consulting services to health and wellness brands, primarily in the plant-based food and beverage space.