Seeds are like mini nutritional powerhouses. They pack a huge punch of antioxidants, fiber, protein, and healthy fats. They’re also easy to eat on the run and can be tossed into a various meals throughout the day. Like nuts, seeds have a higher (healthy) fat content, and are prone to rancidity, so it’s best to store them in an air tight container in the fridge or freezer. I store mine in jars (re-use your old nut butter or jam jars!)
Here are some of my favorite seeds as well as some of the ways I love to incorporate them into my diet. I eat seeds everyday, though I am conscious of balance – while they do have a hefty dose of nutrition, they’re also higher in fat. Although it’s healthy fat, it’s always good to be mindful of portion size. That said, try adding a variety of these seeds into your diet!
Chia Seeds: These little black seeds thicken into a gel when mixed with a liquid (hello chocolate “pudding” or “frosting” recipes so I like to add them to yogurt and smoothies or throw them on toast or salads for a boost of fiber, omega-3, calcium, iron, and potassium.
Flaxseeds: Particularly high in fiber, lignans, and omega-3, these little seeds need to be ground to get the whole nutritional benefit. I buy whole flaxseeds and grind them in my Vitamix, but you can also find flaxseed meal (the seeds already ground up) at most grocery stores. Ground flaxseed is great in baked goods (I use them in all of my pancake recipes), and in oatmeal, smoothies, you name it!
Hemp Seeds: particularly high in protein, hemp seeds have a nice balance of fat, fiber, and protein. They also contain all essential amino acids! They’re awesome in smoothies and give an earthy, nutty taste.
Pumpkin Seeds (aka Pepitas): Pumpkin seeds have a unique array of antioxidants, are a good source of many minerals, including phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, zinc and iron. They’re not just for fall, enjoy them year-round in trail mix, salads, yogurt, cereals, and more.
Sunflower Seeds: Sprinkle these seeds into your salads or onto cold or hot cereal. Sunflower seed butter is one of my favorites and is a great alternative for those who can’t have nuts. Sunflower seed flour is also a nice nut-free flour alternative. Sunflower seeds have tons of vitamin E and are a very good source of copper and vitamin B1. They also have lots of manganese, selenium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin B6, folate, and niacin.
Sesame Seeds: Tahini, or sesame seed paste, makes a lovely spread that can be used as is (I like to top medjool dates with a dollop of tahini, YUM), in place of a nut butter, in dips and hummus, or in salad dressings. Sesame seeds are also a delicious way to add a bit of a nutty crunch to stir fries, or in crackers (have you tried Mary’s Gone Crackers?) They’re an excellent source of copper, a very good source of manganese, and a good source of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, molybdenum, vitamin B1, selenium, and dietary fiber.
What’s your favorite seed? How do you like to eat them?
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