Eating healthy snack foods can be a challenge for anyone looking to ditch their previously high carb and sugar diet in favor of a healthier, slimmer body. For this reason, protein bars have been the go-to snack for mindful eaters, although they can get tired of it quickly. Luckily, there are other plant-based snacks out there that can satisfy your cravings for crispy, crunchy food: popped water lily seeds!
Also known as makhana, which is the Hindi word for it, it’s been eaten as a nutritious snack on the Indian subcontinent for thousands of years. These seeds are small kernels gathered when water lilies cast them off every year and can be popped like popcorn. They offer an incredibly satisfying crunch that’s full of nutrients, giving you a delicious alternative to popcorn and protein
bars. Here’s what you need to know about it:
What Are Popped Lily Seeds?
Popped lily seeds come from water lilies, which are heirloom plants that shed their seeds every year. The kernels are small and pea-sized, which farmers gather to cultivate and expand to make them bigger, similar to the size of large blueberries once they are puffed. When they’re ‘popped’ like popcorn, they transform into a relatively smooth, white sphere with light speckles of its previous seed coat.
Water lily seeds are gaining traction in the U.S. thanks to the growing movement of Ayurveda and exploring Asian foods and practices. In fact, these seeds are some of the most prescribed ones in Ayurvedic tradition, thanks to their abundant nutrients, making them fit for any body type. They are also tridoshic, which means they balance the three doshas, or the three energies that circulate the body and manage physiological activity according to Ayurveda.
How Are Lily Seeds Healthy?
Makhana or lily seeds are chock full of protein, with a one-ounce serving size containing three to four grams of protein. It is comparable to an ounce of air-popped popcorn, which has three grams of protein in total.
Additionally, these kernels are full of magnesium and potassium, which are crucial for improving cardiovascular health while helping the body digest carbohydrates. They’re also grain-free, making it the perfect snack choice for those who are gluten-free or practicing a Paleo diet but struggle to give up salty, crunchy foods like chips or popcorn.
How Are Lily Seeds Popped?
To make popped lily seeds, you’ll have to process them through a machine, which puffs them mechanically. The machine has two parts: the roasting unit and the popping unit. The roasting unit is a thermal heating system equipped with a conveyor mechanism that hands over the roasted seed to the outlet. The popping unit contains an impeller, which applies pressure to the kernel until it breaks down the hard shell, allowing the roasted grain to pop.
There are other ways to snack on popped seeds as well. You can grind the popped kernel into flour and use it in various dishes such as porridge, desserts, and bread. You can also use the popped kernel in curries as a vegetable, giving you a world of possibilities when it comes to incorporating popped lily seeds into your diet!
Lily seeds or makhana in Hindi is an excellent option for those who don’t want to give up their favorite crunchy foods but need low-fat snacks to work towards their fitness goals. With so many ways to enjoy them while getting all their nutrients, you won’t be going back to your protein bars!
If you’re looking for plant-based snacks to live a healthier lifestyle, popped lily seeds are the way to go. Get your healthy, low-calorie snacks at Eat Makhana, a California-based company and local producer selling light and crunchy lily seed pops in various flavors. Try yours today!