From sesame and poppy, to sunflower, chia and hemp (and many more!), seeds are incredibly rich in nutrients, including essential fatty acids, minerals and dietary fibre. Including a variety in your diet throughout the week is also a fantastic way to boost dietary plant diversity, for a happy and healthy gut microbiome.
As seed-specific allergies (sesame aside) are much less common than nut allergies, seeds are often safer inclusions within foods for shared settings, including schools and workplaces. It’s always a good idea to confirm beforehand, though.
Find 10+ tasty ways to enjoy more seeds in your diet, and their wonderful health benefits, below.
Start by simply swapping white bread and crackers for wholegrain, seeded varieties, or – if you’re feeling adventurous – try making your own! They’ll leave you feeling much more full, satisfied and energised.
Other easy swaps include:
- Spreading calcium-rich unhulled tahini – made from ground sesame seeds – on your toast or sandwich, in place of butter (or even peanut butter!)
- Adding sunflower and/or pumpkin seeds (pepitas) to the food processor rather than nuts, when whipping up a pesto.
- Serving quinoa – technically a seed! – alongside a curry or stir fry, instead of rice.
Super simple! Just mix together your preferred combination of seeds in a jar, ready to sprinkle over everything from cereal to salads.
Granola and muesli
Adding a variety of seeds to your usual bowl of oats is a great way to boost its nutritional profile, and keeps things interesting! There’s no right or wrong – just be guided by whatever you fancy (and have available!)
Alongside rolled oats, a combination of buckwheat and quinoa flakes – both seeds! – with sunflower, pumpkin, hemp, chia and flaxseeds creates a great granola base. Simply stir through a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and some spices – cinnamon and cardamom work beautifully – and bake in the oven until golden and crisp. This one makes for a beautiful gift as well!
Seeded spice mix
Using dukkha and za’atar – seasoning blends traditional to Egyptian and Middle Eastern cuisines, respectively – as inspiration, combine a medley of toasted seeds with your chosen herbs and/or spices to create a mixture that’s all your own. Smaller varieties like sesame, poppy, chia and flaxseeds will work well whole, whilst sunflower, pumpkin and other larger varieties (if using) will benefit from a quick blitz in a food processer. Add some ground cumin, coriander and perhaps a little cayenne pepper for a dukkha-inspired blend, or emulate the flavours of za’atar with sumac, thyme, and marjoram or oregano.
Try serving your seeded spice mix alongside some extra virgin olive oil and crusty wholegrain bread or pita on an antipasto platter, or sprinkled over grilled lamb or vegetables, or even avocado toast!
Dressings and marinades
Smaller seeds – like sesame, poppy and linseeds – add a nice texture to extra-virgin olive oil-based salad dressings, and marinades. Try adding some sesame seeds to a few tablespoons of tamari, mixed with a teaspoon each of Dijon mustard, sesame oil and honey, and pour over some salmon fillets before baking in the oven.
Tahini is also a delicious addition to a creamier salad dressing – try it mixed with equal parts apple cider vinegar and extra virgin olive oil, adding a crushed clove of garlic, a little honey and some water to thin (if needed). Stir the dressing through a crunchy Spring salad of blanched green beans and snow peas, cherry tomatoes, radishes, and chopped flat leaf parsley, and enjoy alongside some grilled salmon or chicken.
For a nutrient-dense finishing touch, sprinkle some extra seeds over your seeded toast or cracker toppings for delicious, crunchy texture.
Why not try:
- Peanut butter (or tahini), banana and chia seeds
- Avocado, hemp seeds and a squeeze of lemon
- Cottage cheese, sliced tomato and pepitas.
Seeds are also great additions to baked goods like muffins, pancakes and muesli bars. Orange and poppyseed is a classic combination, but baking is a great opportunity to let your creativity shine! Mixed with water, chia seeds and ground flaxseeds also work well as egg-free binding agents.
Seeds also work well within bliss balls – try adding them to the mixture alongside (or instead of) nuts, and/or rolling the finished product in sesame or chia seeds instead of coconut or chopped nuts.
Instead of breadcrumbs – and without compromising the perfect crunch! – try coating chicken or fish fillets in a finely-textured mixture of sesame, chia and/or flaxseeds.
Roasted pumpkin seeds are a delicious snack – so much so, they’re a mainstay on the menu at Supernormal, a Melbourne institution! Try coating your pepitas in tamari, or extra-virgin olive oil and your preferred spices (smoked paprika and cayenne work well), before baking until toasted and crisp. Enjoy!
For expert dietary support on your personal health and wellbeing journey, book your first appointment with one of our wonderful Accredited Practising Dietitians today.
Written by Caitlin Branch, Student Nutritionist, and Amanda Smith, Accredited Practising Dietitian.