Easy Substitutions for Wheat Germ

Wheat germ, the crunchy byproduct from milling whole wheat, makes a nutritious addition to cakes, breads and other baked goods. However, if you're a celiac or keen to avoid gluten, then wheat germ is a no-go. Nonetheless, wheat germ has some health benefits. For example, it is rich in B vitamins and contains around 15 grams of fiber per 100 grams, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Easy substitutions for wheat germ should combine nutritional benefits with similar cooking properties.

Wheat germ. Credit: Zbigniew Ratajczak/Hemera/Getty Images

Vote For Oat

Oats. Credit: dianazh/iStock/Getty Images

Oat bran, made from the outer shell of the oat grain, has similar texture and nutritional values to wheat germ. Raw oat bran is made up of around 15 percent dietary fiber. It's also rich in iron, protein and omega-3 fatty acids, and contains important nutrients such as calcium. The bran also contains some B vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin and folate. For baking recipes, oat bran makes an easy substitute for wheat germ. The coarse grain offers a slight crunch and works well alongside flour or breadcrumbs.

The Need for Seeds

Flax seeds. Credit: Chad Zuber/iStock/Getty Images

Flax seeds contain more fiber, calcium, iron and omega-3 fatty acids and less fat than wheat germ. Nutritionally speaking, this makes flaxseed an excellent alternative to wheat germ. When ground or turned into flax meal, it also offers a similar consistency. However, you may find flax meal less sweet than wheat germ. If you're making cakes or similar recipes, try adding a little sugar to balance out the taste.

Wheat is Neat

Wheat bran. Credit: MamaMiaPL/iStock/Getty Images

If you're not a celiac or you're not trying to cut down on gluten, then wheat bran offers a useful alternative to wheat germ. It is very high in dietary fiber -- with around 43 grams per 100-gram serving. This amount also contains almost 60 percent of your daily recommended iron intake. Despite its nutritional benefits, wheat bran is also dryer and generally tastes less appealing than oat bran. It can also lack the binding properties of wheat germ or oat bran in a baking recipe.

Ground Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds. Credit: Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images

You can use ground sunflower seeds in a similar way to wheat germ -- to add texture, protein and fiber to bread and other baked goods. Sunflower seeds contain much less carbohydrate than wheat germ, but around the same amount of protein. They do have more fats, which can have an impact on dough consistency when baking. However, they are high in heart-healthy polyunsaturated fat.

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