Sometimes the best gifts come in small packages and sometimes the best foods do too. They might not look like much
but seeds can pack a hefty nutritional punch. Tiny titans of a healthy diet, seeds contain nutrients like protein, fiber, iron and omega-3 fatty acids.
Jennifer Panicko, Registered Dietitian at NorthShore, discusses the big benefits of adding any of these five seeds to your already healthy diet:
Chia seeds. Packed with fiber, chia seeds are filling and nutrient-rich, adding omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, potassium and iron to the mix too. Their pleasant nutty flavor means they can be consumed raw or added to yogurts, oatmeal and
sprinkled on top of favorite whole grain snacks.
Banana almond overnight oatmeal with chia seeds
Sunflower seeds. With lots of B vitamins, especially folate, sunflower seeds are a great snack for pregnant women and those looking to boost the strength of their immune systems. They also have lots of vitamin E, and, even better, are packed
with protein and heart-healthy fats. Go natural and skip the salted variety.
Shaved squash, sunflower seed and feta salad
Flax seeds. Small but mighty, flax seeds are brimming with nutritional value. They contain heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, lignans—which are plant-based phytoestrogen that have been shown to lower one’s risk for some types of cancer—and
both soluble and insoluble fiber. Make sure to grind the seeds before consuming to ensure you get their full benefits.
Date and oat muffins with flax seeds
Sesame seeds. The health benefits of sesame seeds go on and on. They are high in antioxidants, which help boost the immune system, and have been shown to lower hypertension and bad cholesterol, and reduce stress levels. With a delicate nutty
flavor, they can be added to just about anything.
Salmon with sesame and orange relish
Pumpkin seeds. A delicious source of B vitamins and iron, pumpkin seeds are also high in a particular amino acid that has been shown to reduce anxiety: tryptophan. They’re also a fantastic source for omega-3 fatty acids, which can help
lower bad cholesterol levels. Serve them raw or roasted, either will make a healthy snack.
Corn and quinoa summer salad with toasted pumpkin seeds
What is your favorite seeded recipe?
Author: April Williams, MS, RCEP Exercise Physiologist
Eating before you exercise is like fueling up your gas tank to get you from Point A to Point B. It allows you to get through
your workout from start to finish with enough energy. A pre-exercise meal serves a variety of purposes, including:
What to Eat Before Working Out
What you should eat prior to working out will vary from person to person. It will be trial and error to determine what works for you and your routine. As a rule of thumb, you should look for foods that are easily digestible, and often high in carbohydrates
and low in fat, such as: toast, bananas, dried cereal, crackers, granola bars, dried fruit, nuts, fig bars, and/or small servings of peanut butter, jam or honey.
What to Avoid Eating Before Working Out
There are many foods that should be avoided before you exercise. You will want to limit high-fat sources of protein, such as greasy foods like fries and cheeseburgers. Instead, choose smaller portions of turkey, hard-boiled eggs or low-fat milk. Be careful
with sugary foods and beverages as they can give you a sugar high prior to exercise and may leave you without the necessary energy to finish your routine. Stay away from anything that is high in fiber, as this type of food could cause gastric upset during
What to Eat After Working Out
Eating after you exercise can help you recover faster from your workouts. Chocolate milk or yogurt is a perfect post-workout option because each contains carbohydrates and protein. The protein will help build and repair muscle, and the carbohydrates will help
replenish glycogen stores that were used in your workouts. Some other options to help refuel your tank could include: fruit smoothies made with yogurt or milk and a handful of pretzels, juice with string cheese and some crackers, or bowl of your favorite
cereal and a banana.
What are some of your favorite snacks for before and after workouts?