Get Hooked on Seaweed
If you want to whittle your waistline, consider eating seaweed for breakfast. A recent appetite study from Sheffield Hallam University in the U.K. found that participants who ate seaweed-enriched bread in the morning were less hungry during the day. In fact, they consumed about 180 fewer calories than those who ate regular toast.
One of the reasons sea veggies may help reduce weight is because they're packed with fibre that keeps you full longer. Their bulk also helps keep cholesterol in check and your bowel working optimally. But that's not all seaweeds offer; they're nutrient powerhouses, swimming with important minerals such as bone-building calcium, calming magnesium and iodine (it's essential for proper thyroid functioning) and immune-boosting vitamins A and C.
The catch is few of us are willing to start the day with seaweed toast. Fortunately, since seaweed's rep as such a health-supportive food is growing, you can find different types packaged in tasty ways at grocery and health-food stores. Here are four easy and delicious ways to get hooked.
1. Shake it on
The fastest and easiest way to get a hit of seaweed is to shake it over your food, just as you would salt and pepper. Flaked dulse and flaked nori (often mixed with sesame seeds) are available in shaker bottles to use over rice, salads, noodles, stir-fries and soups. They add a subtle salty flavour without adding much sodium to your meal.
2. Snack on it
When you get the mid-afternoon munchies, have a seaweed snack instead of chips. Roasted and salted thin sheets of seaweed -- they're crispy and yummy -- are available in single-serving packages, ideal for stashing in your purse or a lunch box. We've seen kids devouring them at recess!
If you're feeling more adventurous, slice an apple into eighths, spread almond butter over each wedge, then top with a small piece of dulse, a red sea veggie with a chewy texture. It's a combo of sweet, creamy and salty.
3. Noodle it
Kelp noodles are neat. They're high in minerals, skinny on calories and carbs and taste nothing like seaweed. (In fact, they're pretty bland, but they take on other seasonings superbly.) These clear noodles that resemble vermicelli are made from the innards of kelp leaves and can be eaten raw (they have crunch like cucumbers) or cooked. For a simple salad, mix raw kelp noodles with your favourite chopped veggies and toss with dressing, or add them into a stir-fry with veggies and chicken and cook until the noodles are soft.
4. Roll it up
Take a crack at being a sushi chef and create your own maki rolls at home. It can be a bit tricky working with a sushi rolling mat, but practice makes perfect and it's fun. Here are the basic guidelines: take a sheet of toasted nori (this type of seaweed is about the size and thickness of printer paper) and lay it on the mat horizontally to you with the shiny side down.
Place a thin layer of cooked sticky rice (about half a cup) over the nori, leaving half an inch of the nori along the lengthwise bottom edge closest to you uncovered. Then lay down, horizontally, a thin strip or two of sushi-grade fish or peeled and seeded cucumber along that edge of bare nori. Use the mat to start to roll up the nori, beginning at the edge closest to you and rolling away from you, then continue by hand so the mat isn't rolled into the sushi. Use the mat again to give the roll a gentle squeeze to ensure that the contents are snug before removing the mat. Slice and enjoy!