May 04, 2015

NUTRITION CORNER WITH GARY APPLESIES, DIRECTOR OF HEALTHY EATING

I love seeds. Do you? As I was preparing my breakfast this morning, I sprinkled a teaspoon of hemp and chia seeds to my Greek yogurt and strawberries. Yum! Not only did the seeds add a nice, nutty flavor and texture, but they are little powerhouses in the nutrition department. That made me started thinking about how many varieties there are of seeds and how easy they are to add to our diets.

For those of you who know me, you know about my love (addiction!) of seeds. Usually, found in the bulk area, seeds are a frequently overlooked part of a healthy and balanced diet. Ranging from pumpkin to flax to hemp, each seed is unique in its flavor and, most importantly, its health benefits.
Everyone should add seeds to their daily diet. If you are on a Paleo Diet, I recommend limiting your consumption of seeds to 4 ounces per day if you are using the diet to lose weight. The benefits of seeds include possible decreased risk of cancer, improved skin and hair, decreased inflammation associated with numerous afflictions, including arthritis and immune deficiency diseases, and a possible reduction in blood pressure.
Flax (grind this up for full benefits), pumpkin, hemp, sunflower and chia seeds (yes, the same Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia!) are all big sources of protein and are rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

To help kick start this delicious and nutritious addition to your diet, I’ve included a few my favorite ways to add seeds to my food each day. Give these a try and let me know what you think!

Breakfast
As I mentioned earlier, I love adding urt in the morning. Seeds provide extra protein to keep me feeling full and a nice, nutty flavor and texture. You can also add them to your morning smoothie; sprinkle them on your cereal or on your whole-grain toast with nut butter.

Lunch
I love a great salad for lunch, and nothing completes it quite like pumpkin or sunflower seeds. Did you know that two tablespoons of sunflower seeds has more than twice as much protein as a ½ cup of garbanzo beans? Now, that is a powerful little food! I opt for the raw and unsalted varieties, but the choice is up to you.

Snacks
A great snack that is quick, filling and packed with the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids is a crisp, fresh apple and a little bit of sunflower butter. Didn’t know about sunflower butter? You can find it in your local grocer or natural foods store, right next to the other nut butters. And, it is peanut-free, for those of you with tree-nut sensitivities.

Dinner
Do you use extra virgin olive oil when you cook? I sure do! I just add a little hemp oil in with my extra virgin olive oil for additional skin and hair benefits! I like to mix my olive and hemp oil instead of using all hemp oil, but experiment a bit with the taste until you find a mix that best suits your family’s taste buds! Coat your favorite fish with your favorite seed or combination of them bake in the oven till the seeds turn a nice golden brown and the fish is cooked through.

Vegetables
Seeds can be a great topping for your favorite vegetable too! Cook up your veggies and sprinkle some seeds on top for a little added crunch and nuttiness.

Happy Eating and See How Delicious Life Can Be!