These healthy seeds can serve as great snacks and beyond.
As we enter a new year, many of you are looking for ways to eat healthier, and if there’s one area of your diet to start with it’s snacks. Many of us snack almost unconsciously, just grabbing a handful of whatever’s in front of us. But snacking doesn’t have to be bad for you; as long as you are intentional with what you’re consuming, a great snack can give you the extra boost you need to get you through the day.
If there’s one perfect natural snack, it’s definitely seeds. Be they pumpkin or sunflower seeds, they pack a punch nutritionally, and you’ll feel much better off after a handful of them than a handful of potato chips. I promise.
But these healthy seeds shouldn’t just be reserved for snack foods. Use them at any time of the day. Throw them in your morning oatmeal, add them to a stir fry. You can even use them as a topping to ice cream. Whoever said dessert had to be bad for you? Here are seven healthy seeds with plenty of ideas for how to use them.
1. Sunflower seeds
An excellent source of vitamin E and magnesium, sunflower seeds are versatile and easy to cook with. You can even turn them into sunflower butter. To optimize the nutritional value, opt for raw sunflower seeds.
2. Pumpkin seeds
Also referred to as pepitas, pumpkin seeds have a dark green color and they’re a great source of vitamin B. If you’re buying pumpkins, you can of course toast your own, and raw pumpkin seeds can be used to make pesto. You might also find pumpkin seed oil at your local health food store, some have called it the “new coconut oil” as its full of all the good stuff that your body craves.
3. Sesame seeds
A good source of copper and manganese, toast up sesame seeds and make your own tahini, a great base for creamy vegan sauces and dressings. You can get both white and black sesame seeds, and the black ones happen to make for a great addition to Asian noodle dishes.
4. Flax seeds
Oh glorious flax seed, what would we do without you? Grind flax seeds into a fine meal and you can use them like flour, or mix with warm water and get a vegan-friendly egg replacement. The options for flax seed recipes are endless, and your body will thank you for all the fiber you’re giving it.
5. Hemp seeds
If you haven’t experimented with hemp seeds yet, 2015 is definitely the year to do it. Protein, omega-3s, fiber, vitamins; you name it and hemp seeds probably have it. You can use them to replace bulgur in a tabouli, or make up a batch of homemade energy bars.
6. Pomegranate seeds
Once you’ve mastered the art of peeling a pomegranate (I highly recommend the bowl of water method) there’s no stopping you and your consumption of pomegranate seeds. They’re great on salads or just on their own, and they’re a great source of antioxidants.
7. Chia seeds
Chia seeds are sort of the superstars of the healthy seed world. They’re full of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins and minerals. Chia seeds can magically turn into a tasty sugar-free fruit jam or even a vegan pudding.
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