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My (mostly) vegetarian family is getting our omega-3s!

By: Kristin Casey

We have a variety of eating habits in our little family of four. I have been a vegetarian for about ten years. Tim, my husband, eats a predominately vegetarian diet, but also eats fish and some turkey during the holidays. Kylie, our two-year-old daughter is also a vegetarian and a great eater. But Dylan, our five-year-old son, is the pickiest and the only regular meat eater in the house. (Some of that is due to food allergies, but that is a whole other topic.)

So, as you can probably see fixing meals in my house can be difficult at times, but it is important to me that everyone eats healthy. One thing that I know most of us are not getting enough of is omega-3s, so I was happy to be a part of the 12 Healthy Habits challenge and learn how to get omega-3s from plant based sources.

To my surprise, flax seed have been a quick and simple way to incorporate omega-3s into every one’s diet, just by adding it to a family favorite—smoothies. Dylan's favorite color is green, but ironically, getting him to eat things that are green is near impossible. So in order to get him to eat, or I guess drink, some green vegetables, we make smoothies. I sneak a little handful of spinach into each one. Plus, I add the flax seed to create a yummy, fruity treat that is rich with nutrients and omega-3s. I can even add a little extra omega-3s by making the smoothie with some omega-3-enriched soy milk.

My husband and I are both big fans of pesto, so naturally I was excited to learn that walnuts were a good plant-based source of omega-3s. Tonight for dinner we tried the recipe for Parsley and Walnut Pesto. We added it to spinach and cheese ravioli, and it was delicious! My only suggestion would be doubling the pesto recipe. You can keep it in the fridge and use it for dipping bread or vegetables. Of course, my favorite thing to do with leftover pesto is throw a nice spoonful of it on top of some hummus and take it to the office with some carrots and a pita for a healthy and satisfying snack that will keep you away from the vending machines.

I am just getting started on my discovery of plant-based sources of omega-3s and am looking forward to expanding on the suggestions I have received, including perhaps some algae-based supplements. I also plan on experimenting more with the flax seed, possibly in bread, granola, maybe even muffins and cupcakes. The possibilities seem endless.