August 13, 2022
Snacks are one of the easiest ways to go off the rails with your healthy eating. If you take a moment to think of your favourite snacks then chances are good that you have in mind something high calorie and low nutrient. The exact opposite of the nutrient dense healthy diet that supports you. Maybe you are amazingly disciplined and resist all forms of snacking. For those of us less able to forego snacks, you can use them as an opportunity to top up on nutrients.
Sunflower seeds and Pumpkins seeds win the “I’m so grateful I know about these” award. They are rich in Potassium, Iron and Magnesium (nutrient dense anyone?), and have more protein than carbohydrates.
While these seeds have similar nutritional profiles to many nuts (except Cashews which are higher in Carbohydrates than other nuts such as Brazil and Almonds) nuts have a couple of downsides that seeds don’t. Firstly, it’s just too easy to eat too many nuts and secondly nuts are (at the time of writing this) substantially more expensive than seeds.
Seeds are versatile so there are many different ways you can use them. The following are my favourite recipes.
Oven Roasted Seeds
Cover a tray lined with baking paper in sunflower and or pumpkin seeds and put in the oven at 120 degrees celsius for 30 minutes.
You will need to check on these regularly to make sure that they don’t overcook.
I learnt about these when I was at a friends for dinner. Freshly roasted sunflower seeds were served with the meal. So simple and yummy.
Researchers have found that heating sunflower seeds increased the protein composition as well as the micronutrient profile.
Pan “Roasted” Tamari Seeds
This is another way of cooking the seeds, and you can add Tamari (or Gluten Free Soy Sauce) at the end to change the flavour for a bit of variety.
1 Cup Seeds - Sunflower, Pumpkin, Sesame, Pine nuts
In a pan in medium high heat add the seeds, stirring often until the sunflower seeds are lightly browned (approximately 6 minutes).
You can then leave these to cool and eat as they are
OR when the seeds are still hot add 1Tbsp Tamari (or Gluten Free Soy Sauce), stirring quickly to coat all the seeds. (I don’t recommend adding pine nuts if you are going to stir in Tamari or Gluten free soy sauce).
Store these in an airtight container for up to a week. A teaspoon of these can be sprinkled over a salad to give a plain salad a boost.
The original recipe that I used for this is from The Sugar Revolution
My version from my experiences are as follows:
2 Tbsp Flax seeds
2 Tbsp Chia Seeds
600g Seeds of your choice (i.e. Sunflower, Pumpkin, Flax Seeds, Chia seeds, Sesame seeds, Pine nuts)
2 Tsp salt or Nutritional yeast or Vegetarian stock powder or 2 Tsp dried herbs of your choice
3 Tbsp melted coconut oil
Preheat oven to 175°C
Mix the Flax seed and Chia seeds and water. Put aside until it forms a gel like consistency
Add in all the other ingredients and stir.
Leave to stand for an hour
Line 2 baking trays with baking paper and spread the mixture evenly over the trays. Be as smooth and even as you can.
Bake for up to 60 minutes (it may take less time, watch carefully from about 45 minutes onwards).
Remove from oven, peel off baking paper, cut into pieces and leave to cool.
While these are still warm you can drizzle a tiny amount of Tamari or Soy Sauce to add a little more flavour.
Store in an airtight container and use as crackers, or as “bread” with soup.
Trail mix is really easy to make and convenient to carry around with you.
You can also add a few nuts to a base of seeds. This gives you variety while making sure you don’t have far too many nuts to keep considering your diet healthy.
Be careful though, stick to food that is nutrient dense and avoid commercially made trail mix that increases problem foods such as dried fruit with added sugar or chocolate.
My trail mix recipe is:
1-2 Tbsp Raisins or Cranberries
⅕ Cup Nuts of your choice (such as Brazil, Almond or Walnut)
Top the rest of the cup up with sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds
Mix together and store in an airtight container for a week or more.
Cut Up Vegetables
Nutrient dense, water containing, and while they take a little bit of preparation a selection of cut up vegetables makes a great snack. You can also used a avocado and tomato dip to increase the nutrients and healthy fats you are eating.
Thinking ahead and making sure you have healthy snacks available (or easily made) can make a big difference to keeping on track for a nutrient dense healthy diet. Given their versatility I try to make sure I always have sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds (at least) in the house at all times. In another article I will talk further about sweet snacks.
October 06, 2023
I have found with the people that I help that using minerals gives us a strong foundation to work with.
On a personal level I am extremely grateful for the support of minerals!!
September 01, 2023
August 25, 2023
When you start to think in a downward spiral, or become distracted or focussing on negative “unwanted” thoughts - of the past, the present or the future you simply tell your brain “Useful Thoughts Only”
The trick is catching yourself in the act, but I suspect you may have a few (or even many) opportunities each day to practice this technique. The great thing is, even if you realise after quite a while that you have been riding the unhelpful thought train, you can stop at any time and tell yourself - USEFUL THOUGHTS ONLY.