You should know by now that I’m not your typical personal trainer who believes that “food is just fuel”. I’ve heard people say that for years and I even said the same thing myself about twenty years ago. Over time I’ve learned, grown and educated myself. And much of it goes back to the basics of food. Take sunflower seeds, for example. Like most seeds, they are a power-packed, nutrient-dense food. Sunflower seeds are a good source of protein, high in dietary fiber, rich in antioxidants like vitamin E, high in magnesium, selenium and copper, and are an excellent source of poly and mono-unsaturated fats. The list of all it’s benefits can go on and on.
For me, I have been trying to replace chips and crackers with nuts and seeds. Why?
1. Chips and crackers just go down too easily. Just a few crunches and I’m reaching for another handful. Sunflower seeds require more chewing. That’s important for two reasons. 1. Digestion starts in your mouth. 2. Chewing and grinding your food takes longer and gives you a greater sense of satisfaction. I call it the “chew factor”.
2. Chips and crackers are mostly carbohydrates and fat. They are low in protein and have few vitamins, if any. It’s the carbohydrates that I have the issue with. Remember my saying, “Carbs beget carbs”? With chips and crackers, you’re rarely satisfied. As a matter of fact, they make you just want to eat more. That’s not good if you’re trying to eat healthier and lose weight.
3. Chips and crackers stick to and in between your teeth. Just ask your dentist what they think about chips and crackers, and you’ll see them frown. Dentists call them “sticky foods”.
Before I go on, let me qualify this by saying, I haven’t totally replaced crackers and chips with nuts and seeds. As a matter of fact, I ate tortilla chips with a corn and avocado salsa that a friend brought over yesterday and it was awesome. What I am saying is that we need to be more aware of what we’re eating and try to make healthier choices most of the time. It doesn’t mean that you can’t have a treat or fun food every now and then. Some people try to do that, and it never works. Okay, let’s move on.
4. Chips and crackers have little to no dietary fiber. Of course, that depends on which ones you choose. The fiber in sunflower seeds helps with digestion and gives you the sense of being full. With a bag of chips, it’s like our goal is to see the bottom of the bag.
5. Last, but not least, I like to garnish mixed green salads with sunflower seeds, sprinkle them on my breakfast cereal and add them to tuna salad. They add a unique flavor, and I believe that’s one of the biggest things missing in most people’s diets. People are constantly searching for flavor and satisfaction. Sunflower seeds are a delicious and healthy choice to add to your diet.