It is no secret that seeds are small, but nutritionally mighty. Packed with anti-inflammatory nutrients like heart-healthy fats, protein, fiber, and antioxidants (among a ton of vitamins and minerals), it’s no wonder we call them little powerhouses of health. And don’t think you need to consume a huge serving to reap the benefits – a little spoonful goes a long way. Here are some simple ways to incorporate seeds into your every day:
An Egg Substitute
Substitute an egg with chia seeds or ground flax when baking. Use 1 tablespoon finely ground chia seeds or flax seeds (grind them dry in a blender, food processor or coffee grinder) with 3 tablespoons of water. This ratio will replace one egg.
As a Thickener
Thicken soups and stews by adding a couple tablespoons of ground or whole chia seeds to a hot soup or stew until you reach your desired thickness. Wait 10-15 minutes for chia to thicken to full capacity.
As a Topping
Seeds make for a great breading or topping. Mixed ground seeds like sunflower, pumpkin, flax, sesame or chia with some herbs and spices, or even use it alone. Coat fish or chicken with egg or mustard and coat with the seeds. Bake, pan sear or air fry for a healthy, crunchy topping.
Mixed into a Batter
Add seeds (ground or whole) to the batter of muffins, breads, cakes, waffles and pancakes for a nutritious boost and crunch.
Mix ground flax, chia or hemp into yogurt and smoothies.
Mix 2 tablespoons of whole chia with ½ C of non-dairy milk and your favorite flavorings (think cinnamon, maple, dry fruit…be creative!). Allow it to sit overnight as the seeds plump up. Or check out this recipe from Beauty Advisor, Jolene Hart – Strawberry Super Seed Make-Ahead Breakfast.
Salad and Bowl Topping
Add pumpkin and sunflower seeds to a salad or grain bowl, cooked or raw vegetable, or hot cereal as a delicious and nutritious topper.
As a Salad Dressing
Grind sunflower or pumpkin seeds with garlic, parsley and basil, and mix with lemon juice and olive oil to become a flavorful and healthy dressing for greens.
As a Crunchy Snack
Roast sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds with a dash of salt, pepper, and olive oil for a tasty and healthy snack. For more spice combinations for your favorite snacks, check out Spice Up your Snacks.
Sunflower Seed Butter
Grind sunflower seeds in a food processor and run it on high speed until a paste forms (you may need to add a touch of vegetable oil to thin it out).
Did you Know?
Hemp seeds not only contain all 20 amino acids, but they also contain all 9 essential amino acids making them a complete protein.
Flax seed is the richest source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a heart hearty omega-3 fatty acid, in the world. To absorb all the anti-inflammatory fat, flax seed should be ground. Otherwise, whole flax seed makes for a great source of fiber!
Sesame seeds are one of the oldest cultivated plants in the world. They’re also high in calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1 (thiamine), zinc, selenium and fiber – talk about mighty!
Chia seeds absorb up to 10X their weight in liquid (thank you, soluble fiber)!
Which seeds are your favorite and how do you enjoy them?
Erin Pellegrin, RD, LDN
Original post: 3/20/2013