Seeds make an excellent portable snack. Not only are they delicious, they pack an incredible punch of many things our bodies need to function well. Sunflower seeds in particular include:
- essential fatty acids (essential for brain, nerve, and circulatory health)
- Vitamin E (a natural anti-oxidant, which means it provides some serious protection against harmful substances in the body, particularly those created by exposure to toxins or UV rays - it's also a powerful anti-inflammatory)
- selenium (also an anti-oxidant and immune booster; this mineral helps us create enzymes in the body for growth, repair, and to fight infection)
- folate (the whole form of folic acid [that important nutrient we hear so much about for prenatal health]; it's essential to red blood cell growth, healthy bones, and brain function)
If you're looking for something that is inexpensive, easy to travel with, and truly nutritious, these little guys are a great option. What else packs quite as much nutrition (and filling potential) into one little handful? Not much! Plus, they are a truly versatile food, easy to incorporate into any meal of the day.
If you're introducing nuts and seeds to a little one at home, it's recommended you wait until they're at least one year old, especially if there is a history of nut or seed allergies in the family. Sunflower seeds tend to be low on the allergen spectrum, but definitely check with your pediatrician before introducing these. (When you do, hold on tight: your little one might discover this is their new favorite treat! Seriously yumminess.)
Not into shelling them yourself? (Cool, me either. It's hard on the teeth!) There are many hulled versions on the market, as simple as in bins in the bulk section of your grocery store, any bulk vendor at a farmers market, or in pre-packaged, pre-seasoned varieties like Super Seedz pumpkin seeds (bonus: they're a Connecticut-based small business -- yay, entrepreneurship! I discovered Super Seedz (and Kathie, the owner and mastermind behind the snack revolution at The Vegetarian Food Festival in NYC in March). Their flavors are seriously delish (tomato italiano? sea salt? curry? super spicy? somewhat spicy?).
- tossing into a salad, stir-fry, or gluten-free pasta dish (they add a delicious nutty taste and the same crunch as say, crispy onions or bacon: all the good fat, none of the unhealthy stuff)
- using a sunflower butter in place of peanut butter or sandwich spreads (available at most health food stores, or easy enough to make by processing seeds in a blender until smooth - about 5 minutes)
- incorporating a handful into a smoothie
- using a dollop in a homemade pesto
No matter how you prepare them, sunflower seeds are a great addition to a plant-based diet. Healthy fats? Check. Anti-oxidants? Check. Portability and snack-tisfaction? Done.
How do you use this little pods of awesome?
JUST SO YOU KNOW: I don't make a commission on the sale of any Super Seedz product.