healthy pantry staples: seeds part 2

21 October 2015

I have found the key to sustainable healthy eating and living is to have a well stocked pantry, fridge and freezer so that you always have the tools you need to create nourishing, delicious meals and snacks.  Here is a peak (broken into categories) of the foods I always have on hand, complete with a little nutritional breakdown, my favourite ways to use them, how to store and where to find.

SEEDS: PART 2

 

Like I boasted in my first post on seeds, they rarely get the credit they deserve.  Seeds are super tiny, but packed with so much nutrition! High in plant based protein, they are a perfect way for vegan/vegetarians/anyone looking to reduce their meat consumption to pack more protein into their day.  They also contain good fats, the kind that keep us full and satisfied, our blood sugar levels stable and our skin and hair soft and shiny.  You can easily add them to up the nutritional value meals and snacks or eat on their own for a simple burst of energy.  Here is part 2 of superstars I always have on my shelves:

SUNFLOWER: Like all seeds, these guys are packed with protein.  High in vitamin E (think immunity + skin health), selenium (the mineral great for degenerative diseases that combined with vitamin E helps with aging and male fertility), vitamins B1, 5 and 6 and fibre. Their high fat content helps lubricate the skin for glowing results, while positively affecting cholesterol levels and improving brain function.

Flavour/texture profile | sunflower seeds have a mildly nutty flavour with a firm yet tender texture, great for adding new depth to your favourite recipes

How to enjoy | while sunflower seeds are a nice snack on their own, you can also add them to hot or cold oatmeal, for texture on top of your favourite quinoa/millet dish, soup or salad, ground up to add a nutty flavour to a homemade salad dressing or as a vegan mac + ‘cheese’ crumble topping like in this recipe I absolutely love

Where to find | your local health food and grocery stores

Brands to look for | central roast, if buying a grocery store brand make sure to look for unsalted without added oils or sugar

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SESAME: A small seed with a big punch!  They are an amazing source of protein, particularly methionine and tryptophan, the amino acids responsible for your feel good hormones, detoxification and fat metabolism.  Also a super source of calcium and magnesium which is great news for bone health.  Whenever I get asked the question “where will I get calcium if I don’t drink milk?” tahini (ground sesame seed paste often found in hummus) is at the top of my list.  Add some sesame seeds (or tahini) to your evening meal as a sleep aid or even to help with premenstrual cramps.

Flavour/texture profile | to match their big nutritional benefits, they also have a full flavour profile that is nice and nutty- adding a rich flavour to almost anything

How to enjoy | great on top of asian influenced dishes like stir fry’s and sushi, as tahini paste in homemade hummus, sprinkled as a salad topper or right into your salad dressing, or in these awesome energy snacks

Where to find | your local health food and grocery stores

Brands to look for | seeds: organic traditions, tahini: nuts to you

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PUMPKIN:  these football shaped seeds are best known for their omega 3, zinc and you guessed it, protein content.  The zinc makes them especially great for skin healthy and immunity (awesome for this time of year) and the omega’s help balance blood sugar, support cognitive health as well as contribute to dewy skin and shiny hair.  Full of important vitamins and minerals like A, B1, 2 and 3, iron and manganese (the mineral responsible for healthy growth and development of bones and joints), pumpkin seeds are where it’s at!

Flavour/texture profile | sweet and subtly nutty flavour, with a slight chewy texture

How to enjoy | in a trail mix, on top of yogurt, a smoothie bowl, soup or stew, as great spicy snack roasted with cayenne pepper, sea salt + fresh lemon juice, as a butter or in these deliciously seasonal muffins

Where to find |  your local health food and grocery stores or to keep with the season, a local pumpkin patch can make for a fun day of carving and fishing out your own pumpkin seeds

Brands to look for | central coast, if buying a grocery store brand make sure to look for unsalted without added oils and sugar

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Seed storage tips | I like to keep all seeds in the fridge to preserve freshness.  If storing them in pantry is your thing, make sure they are in a cool, dark spot.

 

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