Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus.See all posts »
Seeds: They Aren't Just for the Birds
Nuts are a great snack and incorporating them into some of your meals can provide essential fatty acids, vitamins, and fiber to your diet, but have you ever thought about eating seeds? Seeds are an often overlooked food by many. These tiny little nutritional morsels are loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, healthy fat, and antioxidants. An added benefit is that they are relatively inexpensive and store easily. Here is a quick breakdown of some of my favorite seeds - try them as a snack or sprinkle them on your meals to add flavor.
- Chia seeds: Chia seeds are a natural source of omega-3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, fiber, and antioxidants. When mixed with water, these tiny black and white seeds form a gel substance that is supposed to help keep you hydrated on long runs and also help from a weight management standpoint by helping to control hunger. However, studies are still being conducted to confirm these benefits.
- Flax seeds: This is another seed that is rich in omega 3 fatty acids and fiber. Fiber is key for lasting energy. Simply replace a portion of the flour with flax meal to add fiber and nutrition easily to your baked goods without the family knowing. It works great in pancakes, muffins, and quick breads.
- Pumpkin seeds: Usually I only think of pumpkin seeds as something to eat in the fall but they can actually be eaten year round. These fantastic seeds are loaded with magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, tryptophan, and iron. You can eat them plain, add them to salads, or even bake them with your favorite spices.
- Sesame seeds: Sesame seeds are used to make one of my favorite ingredients found in hummus…tahini! I love the flavor of sesame seeds on bagels and sushi as well. These tiny seeds provide calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, B vitamins, antioxidants and fiber. If you don’t like to eat sesame seeds, you can always cook with sesame oil as well to reap these great benefits.
- Sunflower seeds: Shelled or un-shelled, this seed is one that I can’t get enough of. Sunflower seeds are an excellent source of protein, iron, folate, zinc, dietary fiber, and vitamin E. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps to boost the immune system! Add them to salads, muffins, granola bars, or even burger patties for an additional crunch this summer!
Now you can say you read some “seedy” information today!