Every day my kids come home from school starving. My son makes a beeline for the pantry as soon as he walks in the door and he will inevitably find the one unhealthy food in the house. I’ve had to come up with a plan to have a healthy snack, that is both nutritious and delicious, sitting at the table for him when he gets home. When I read about the health benefits of wheat germ, I decided that I needed to find a way to sneak this little gem into our diet and our afterschool snack was the perfect vehicle.
First, to understand wheat germ, you should know about the components of whole grain. The husk is the outer layer of the grain that gets thrown away, while the bran is the main source of fiber. The endosperm is the main component of the whole grain and contains protein and starch and is basically the only part used in refined grain products. Finally, the smallest part of the grain, the germ, is rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber. Did you know that while the germ is the nutritional powerhouse of the whole grain, it only makes up 3% of the kernel? The germ has a generous serving of vitamin E, zinc, iron, fiber, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, thiamin, folate, vitamin B6, manganese and selenium. A mere ¼ cup of wheat germ has 104 calories, 6 grams of protein, 2 grams fat and 4 grams of fiber!
“Wonderful” you say, but how to I eat this “germ”? You can sneak wheat germ into any of your baked goods by replacing half of the flour with this nutritious substitute. You can also sprinkle it on yogurt, add it to meatballs, and mix in with your protein shakes.
I have two favorite recipes that I want to share with you that my kids and I love for an afterschool snack. These treats are also perfect for enjoying after a workout because they provide a balanced combination of protein, carbs and fat. The balance of nutrients is exactly what your body needs to repair your muscles after a workout and give your kids the energy they need to power through their homework and keep their hunger at bay until dinner.
My personal favorite what germ recipe is my banana, honey and wheat germ snack. I think that kids love this so much because they love to dip foods. Cut one banana and serve on a plate with a tablespoon of raw honey and ¼ cup of wheat germ. We dip each slice of banana in the honey first and then the wheat germ. Delicious!
Another great snack requires a little more preparation, but is well worth it.
Power Energy Balls
- 2 cups peanut butter
- 1 cup wheat germ
- 1 cup dry milk powder
- 1 cup honey
- 1/2 cup flaked coconut
In a medium bowl, stir together the peanut butter, wheat germ, dry milk, and honey, until smooth. Roll into walnut sized balls and roll the balls in the coconut. They’re ready!
107 calories, 6 g fat, 1 gram fiber, 4.2 grams protein
Try out these recipes and let me know if you and your kids enjoy them!