How to enjoy more nuts and seeds in your diet
Whilst we all know that nuts and seeds are good for us, it’s often easy to leave them out of our diets. There’s a common myth that all nuts and seeds are expensive, bland or both. And many of us do not know the individual health benefits of nuts and seeds. This article features just a few of the easiest (and tastiest) nuts and seeds to incorporate into your daily dinners, snacks and breakfasts. We’ll take you through some of the powerful benefits of each one, and then recommend some delicious and nutritious ways to consume them to help show you how to enjoy more nuts and seeds in your diet.
Are nuts and seeds expensive?
Firstly, don’t be discouraged by the price of nuts. Whilst they can appear expensive, most can be purchased in bulk for a much more cost-effective choice. Remember, most nuts and seeds don’t need to be consumed in large amounts either so seemingly pricey bags should actually last longer than something more processed of a similar size.
However, it is important to store nuts properly in an air-tight container to maintain the proper moisture level, otherwise, they can go rancid.
Rather than just relying on the supermarkets, nuts and seeds can now also be purchased in one of the many zero-waste stores popping up across the county. Do your bit for the environment by taking a reusable jar or container from home and buying these pantry items in this more sustainable and plant-loving way.
Let’s look at a few nuts and seeds, explore their impressive nutritional value and some super easy ways to enjoy nuts and seeds in your diet from now on.
Pine nuts are native to the United States and are an excellent source of magnesium, vitamin K and vitamin C, as well as zinc.
We love using pine nuts as a healthy snack (a bit like popcorn). It’s also a key ingredient in pesto with many large supermarkets now stocking delicious vegan versions with no dairy – yay!
Our favourite use of pine nuts is to sprinkle them over any pasta dish for an extra crunch and a pretty topping.
Originally from Iran, the English walnut can still be found in many wooded areas of Essex and across the UK when you’re out and about in the Autumn months. Look for its large distinctive trees and an unmissable crunch underfoot.
Walnuts can be foraged, dried out if wet, and then cracked open ready to eat.
Walnuts are a great source of omega 3 in a vegan diet, plus they contain iron, zinc and vitamin E too.
We love using walnuts in cheeky baked goods, like coffee and walnut cake – yum. They’re probably a little more healthily consumed as a snack, part of your breakfast porridge or even in dairy-free ice cream.
The cashew nut is native to Brazil and packs a powerful punch of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin K, zinc and iron.
We love using cashew nuts in creamy vegan sauces, like this one in our vegan pumpkin pasta bake. They are also an excellent addition to nearly all pasta dishes or can be blended into a cashew nut butter (similar to peanut butter)!
Chia seeds are believed to originate in Central America and have recently become a popular health food. They contain fibre, omega 3 and are protein-rich too, making them an excellent choice for plant-based and vegan diets.
Chia seeds are best incorporated into sweeter dishes. Our favourite ways to use them are in homemade smoothies, winter porridge and other breakfast bowls with a dairy-free yoghurt base.
Sunflower seeds also originated in the Americas. Sunflowers are easy to grow in any small garden or on a patio or balcony.
Sunflowers are an excellent source of vitamin E, zinc, iron and magnesium.
They are another delicious seed that can be used in a similar way to Chia; in breakfast bowls containing dairy-free milk or yoghurt. You may also like them as a snack with sweet berries like raspberries or strawberries.
Hemp originated in Central Asia and is an excellent supplement in a vegan or plant-based diet. Hemp seeds are protein-rich, contain Vitamin E, iron and calcium, and are a healthy fat too.
These are just a few ideas to help you enjoy more nuts and seeds in your diet. There are plenty of others to try and incorporate too. If you have a nut or seed you’d like to consume more of but are stuck for ideas, let us know. We’ll help find a fun and easy way to enjoy more nuts and seeds into your diet.
Eating nuts and seeds doesn’t need to be dull or tasteless. Considering the multiple health benefits of eating nuts and seeds, finding ways to enjoy them is more important than ever. If you try one of our nut or seed meal suggestions, we’d love to hear what you thought of it.
Article provided by Karen Rose, aka The Natural Essex Girl: