Did you know that you can strategize for the best time to eat seeds for weight loss to have the most impact?
Seeds are small but mighty powerhouses of nutrition, and they can be a game changer in your weight loss journey.
They are low in calories, high in fiber, and packed with nutrients keeping you feeling full and satisfied. But when is the best time to eat seeds to maximize their weight loss benefits?
I’ll provide you with my Dietitian advice on everything you need to know including; what is a seed, what types are best for weight loss, the optimal time to eat seeds, and how to incorporate them into your diet.
Whether you are just starting your weight loss journey or looking for new ways to boost your efforts, grab a handful of your favorite seeds and let’s get started!
What is a Seed?
In order to incorporate seeds into your weight loss journey, we first have to understand what exactly is a seed.
Throwback to science class and remember that a seed is the reproductive unit of a plant that contains the genetic information necessary to create a new plant.
Seeds come in many different shapes, sizes, and colors and can be found in a wide variety of plants, from flowers to trees to vegetables.
When it comes to food, seeds are a nutrient-dense source of protein, healthy fats, and most importantly, fiber. They are also a good source of vitamins and minerals, making them a great addition to any diet.
Grains vs Seeds
We often confuse seeds for grains or even being one in the same. But that’s not exactly the case.
A grain is a specific type of seed that comes from the family of grasses. Some examples are wheat, barley, oats, and corn.
Grains are typically used to make flour, bread, and other staple foods.
You’ve probably seen whole grain bread options at the grocery store. These are made from flours that have not had the bran and germ removed from the wheat grain.
These are healthier options than white bread and can greatly assist with weight loss. That’s why it’s my Dietitian recommendation to make the switch to whole grain bread.
Check out my article on 10 Reasons Why Brown Bread is Good for Weight Loss and I bet you’ll make the switch today.
Put simply though; while all grains are seeds, not all seeds are grains.
Nuts vs Seeds
Nuts and seeds are terms that are commonly interchangeabe, but it’s important to understand the difference. Because it’s this difference that matters when it comes to your nutrition.
Believe it or not but nuts are actually hard-shelled fruits that contain a single seed. They are high in healthy fats, protein, and fiber, and are a great source of vitamins and minerals.
While both nuts and seeds are nutritious, they have slightly different nutritional profiles.
For example, nuts are generally higher in protein and healthy fats, while seeds tend to be higher in fiber. So to prevent any deficiencies, mix and match different types of nuts and seeds in your diet.
But for our differential purposes here just know that nuts contain a single seed, but seeds are not nuts.
Try not to get too caught up in the weeds in all of this. At the end of the day if it’s tiny and comes from a plant – it’s likely good for you and your nutrition.
How do Seeds Help with Weight Loss?
Seeds help with weight loss because they are nutrient-packed. AKA, they allow you to feel full and satisfied without the excess calories.
The reason that seeds make you feel full is because of the high fiber and protein content.
Both fiber and protein are compounds that take longer to digest, meaning they quite literally stay in your stomach longer. This suppresses the hunger hormone ghrelin.
Ghrelin is a hormone that is made and released in the stomach. When the stomach is starting to get empty, it releases ghrelin. This sends signals to the brain that you are hungry and need to eat.
When there’s fiber or protein-rich food in the stomach that’s taking longer to digest, the ghrelin hormone stays at bay. The satiety hormone leptin is then released telling your brain that you are actually getting full.
This makes seeds the perfect little secret agent to keep you from becoming “hangry”. You’ll instead be able to focus and stick to your weight loss goals.
When it comes to weight loss, there are a number of different seeds that can be particularly helpful.
Best Seeds for Weight Loss
- Chia seeds: These tiny seeds are packed with fiber and can absorb up to 12 times their weight in water. Making them a great and versatile tool for weight loss.
- Flaxseeds: These seeds are high in fiber and healthy omega-3 fatty acids. They can help to reduce inflammation, improve cholesterol levels, and promote healthy hair growth from their B vitamin content.
- Basil seeds: Basil seeds look like black sesame seeds but act like chia seeds. Basil seeds swell to double their size and are rich in fiber and protein. They are sometimes referred to as Sabja seeds.
- Fennel seeds: These small, narrow, and ridged seeds have been shown to reduce hunger and increase feelings of fullness.
- Pumpkin seeds: These seeds are a great source of healthy fats, protein, and most importantly – packed with fiber. They can help to keep you feeling full and satisfied and are also a good source of zinc, which can help to boost the immune system.
- Quinoa seeds: These seeds are not only high in protein, but are also a complete protein, meaning they contain all of the essential amino acids. They also eat like a starch, so they make an excellent swap for carb side dishes.
- Hemp seeds: These seeds are high in healthy fats, protein, and fiber and can help to reduce inflammation in the body. They are also a good source of magnesium, which can help to improve sleep and reduce stress. Both are factors that will affect your weight.
- Sesame seeds: These seeds are high in healthy fats, protein, and fiber and are also a good source of calcium, which can help to improve bone health.
- Sunflower seeds: These seeds are high in healthy fats, protein, and fiber and are also a good source of vitamin E, which can help to improve skin health.
Best Time to Eat Seeds for Weight Loss
As you can see, seeds are a great source of nutrition and can help to keep you feeling full and satisfied, making it easier to stick to your weight loss goals.
But when is the best time to eat seeds for weight loss? Should you eat them in the morning or at night? There are actually benefits to eating seeds at both times of the day, so let’s take a closer look.
Eating Seeds in the Morning
Starting your day off with a dose of seeds can be a great way to set the tone for the rest of the day.
Eating seeds in the morning can help to keep you feeling full and satisfied throughout the morning, reducing the chances of overeating or snacking on unhealthy options later on.
Additionally, seeds can provide you the energy boost you need to kickstart your day.
So if you find yourself dragging around until lunch time just trying to fully wake-up and end up mindlessly snacking a lot, seeds in the morning may be all you need to keep you on track to lose weight.
Eating Seeds at Night
Eating seeds at night can also be beneficial for weight loss, for the same reasons but different settings.
The fiber-rich content of seeds could be all you need to break the habit of snacking after dinner. After all, this is when most of us get in a lot of empty calories – from our late night high-calorie snacks.
Seeds are loaded with nutrients that help to reduce inflammation, bloating, and stress. This will help improve digestion and most importantly sleep.
Sleep and stress are two non-direct factors that have a major impact on our ability to lose weight, and are ironically two of the most overlooked factors in the weight loss journey.
So, which is better? Morning or night? The truth is, both are great options.
The best time to eat seeds for weight loss is whenever you would typically overeat.
If you’re looking for a way to kickstart your day and limit snacking, eating seeds in the morning may be the best option.
But if you’re looking for a way to end your day on a healthy note and possibly improve your sleep, eating seeds at night may be the way to go.
The key is to make sure you are including them in your diet and to choose the time that works best for you. Any time of the day is better than not at all.
How to Eat Seeds for Weight Loss
Now that we know the reason why and the best time to eat seeds for weight loss, let’s look at some “how to” tips to practically add these little nutrient powerhouses to your diet.
Listed below are some culinary techniques to use seeds based on their attributes. The techniques can be grouped into three methods; as toppings, a thickener, or additions.
Probably the easiest, tastiest way to add seeds is as toppings. A sprinkle here and a sprinkle there may not seem like it would do much, but small things truly do add up.
Chia, basil, hemp, sesame, and flaxseeds are all extremely tiny seeds that are relatively tasteless, making them a super easy topping to sprinkle on top of just about anything.
You could make a blend of all of these seeds and sprinkle a little on quite literally anything you make, just add it right along after salt and pepper.
Registered Dietitian Grace Shea has a recipe for an Oatmeal Sprinkle involving chia, hemp, flaxseeds, and yes – even real sprinkles. It’s a great way to have your kids actually asking to have seeds in their food.
Some seeds can help enhance the flavor of the dish, providing more than just a nutritional boost.
Toss pumpkin or sunflower seeds in a little bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast in the oven until golden brown. This creates a lovely deep and nutty flavor to the seeds, complementing any savory dish they are sprinkled on top of.
Probably the most underrated use of seeds is as a thickener. Chia and basil seeds both can absorb liquid creating a gel-like substance.
You can use this to your advantage when thickening sauces, gravies, soup, vinaigrettes, salad dressings, etc. You won’t notice they’re there so why not throw in a teaspoon?
Seeds don’t always have to be hidden, using them as a thickener can be the perfect way to make them the star of a dish.
Chia and basil seed puddings have become a recent trend in the last couple of years, and for good reason.
These sweet cool treats are packed with fiber and protein, making them far superior to the typical pudding that we know.
The base of these puddings is simple; 1 Tbsp of chia or basil seeds, to ¼ cup of liquid. Feel free to make more and swap out different types of milks for more variety.
After that you simply just add whatever other toppings or ingredients you wish, such as; fruit, nuts, honey, chocolate, peanut butter, granola, etc.
Registered Dietitian Jamie from The Balanced Nutritionist, has a decadent recipe for Chocolate Oat Milk Chia Pudding. Seriously though, you won’t even realize you’re eating something “healthy”.
Another tactic to adding seeds to your diet is to simply sneak them in. I do this a lot with cooking at home for my family. (Shhh don’t tell them)
Some of the best “unnoticeable” seeds to sneak in are flaxseeds. Just be sure you buy the ground flaxseeds as they’ll be more soluble this way and easy to add.
Ground flaxseeds will absorb liquid, but don’t swell as much as chia or basil seeds. Though flaxseeds are soluble enough to help thicken any gravies or sauces you make.
A common Dietitian recommendation of mine is to sprinkle ground flaxseeds in just about anything you eat that has a bit of moisture to it. This will allow the ground flaxseeds to get soft and virtually go unnoticed by the consumer.
Soups, pastas, scrambled eggs, yogurt, cereal, casseroles, etc. You name it, you can probably add it. And it doesn’t have to be a lot. A sprinkle here and there will add up if you are adding it to several things you eat throughout the day.
I commonly recommend this culinary technique because flaxseeds are an excellent way to help lower cholesterol as they are high in soluble fiber.
Hemp seeds are another super easy, mild tasting addition to just about anything you make as well. For example add them to roasted vegetables, soups, stir fry, and even cereals.
While they are not ground, the seeds themselves are very soft. So there’s no concern of an unsuspecting diner biting down to a crunch.
Sesame seeds are another easy addition to most foods that have the ability to practically go unnoticed when added to foods during the cooking process. Sesame seeds are also an easy addition to baked goods.
My personal favorite seed addition is a hefty shake or two of hemp seeds on my salad. There’s just something about that mild buttery/nutty addition to a crisp salad.
Of course we have some more unique seeds that aren’t quite as easily topped, added, or thickened into our diets.
Fennel seeds is one particular seed with a relatively strong flavor, which is why you typically see fennel seeds on the spice rack.
The fennel seed has an anise flavor that most people associate with the taste of sausage, an ingredient of which they are commonly in.
However, because of this strong flavor and aroma, fennel seeds are not as easily (and sneakily) added to your diet.
Adding Fennel seeds to soups or casseroles creates a great flavor, and don’t hesitate to experiment with fennel seeds in any of your other savory dishes. Steeping fennel seeds will result in a tea with an anise flavor.
Quinoa is one of my favorite grains, which again is a type of seed. Quinoa is one of the few complete plant proteins on this earth. Making it equivalent to meat as far as its amino acid profile is concerned at least.
The best part about quinoa is that it eats like a starch. It makes for a great side dish instead of potatoes or rice.
Simply rinse and cook the quinoa per the package instructions. I like to cook it in chicken or beef broth for added flavor. You could even load it up like a baked potato with cheese and bacon bits!
As a Dietitian, I recommend that you take a look at your typical daily intake and figure out what the best time to eat seeds for weight loss is for you specifically.
You first have to understand what a seed is; the reproductive unit of a plant that contains the genetic information necessary to create a new plant.
Remember that a grain is a specific type of seed and a nut is a hard-shelled fruit that contains a single seed.
The best seeds to eat for weight loss (and easiest to incorporate) are; chia, basil, fennel, pumpkin, quinoa, hemp, sesame, sunflower, and flaxseeds.
Seeds help with weight loss because they are nutrient-dense, particularly with fiber, allowing you to feel full and satisfied without the excess calories.
Seeds can be snacks themselves, but you can integrate them in your day to day life by using them as toppings, a thickening agent, or addition to foods.
The best time to eat seeds for weight loss is in the morning if that is when you typically snack a lot, or in the evening if you tend to reach for not so healthy items after dinner.
The main idea is that you are swapping out seeds, or incorporating them more, during a time that you typically fall short nutritionally.
Seeds will help make you feel fuller quicker, preventing overeating that would result in weight gain.
How Much Mixed Seeds Should I Eat Daily to Lose Weight?
You should eat 1-2 ounces of mixed seeds daily to help lose weight. This will be most beneficial for weight loss if the mixed seeds are replacing a typical high-calorie snack for you.
The seeds will provide you with a great deal of nutrients including; vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, protein, and most importantly fiber. It’s the high fiber content that will help you feel full even with such a little amount.
1-2 ounces is not difficult to incorporate into your diet either. Looking at your hand, a palmful is about 3 ounces and that would provide you even more than you need.
Use the tactics above for inspiration on different ways to incorporate seeds besides as a stand alone snack. You’ll find it’s much easier to incorporate seeds into your diet than you probably realize.
When is the Best Time to Drink Chia Seeds for Weight loss?
Chia seed water gained popularity in 2021, promoting that it can help with weight loss. To create this drink you simply add chia seeds to water, let it sit for at least 30 mins for the seeds to swell, and then drink.
While this seedy beverage won’t cause weight loss in of itself. Chia seed water is a great way to help meet your daily recommended amount of mixed seeds intake.
Use chia seed water in the morning if you typically find yourself snacking on junk foods before lunch. But if evening snacking is your weakness, try drinking chia seed water after dinner to help curb your appetite.
While you would have to use a substantial amount of chia seeds to mimic the fullness of an actual meal. A Tbsp or two in your glass of water will provide you that little extra boost of fiber and protein to keep you from reaching for that high-calorie snack food.
When is the Best Time to Eat Flaxseeds for Weight Loss?
The best time to eat flaxseeds for weight loss would be whenever you do your most high-calorie snacking. The idea being that you are swapping out one of these empty calorie snacks with something nutrient packed instead.
I’ve found that the best way to eat flaxseeds is to sneak them into just about any food that has a bit of moisture in it. Using ground flaxseeds would be even more beneficial, as this will become soluble quicker.
While you could also make a flaxseed drink for weight loss similar to chia seed water. The taste of it would have a more grassy/earthy taste that might not be as palatable.
What are the Benefits of Eating Flaxseeds on an Empty Stomach?
The benefits of eating flaxseeds on an empty stomach is that it can help prevent overeating. By eating flaxseeds first, the high fiber content will cause the flaxseeds to physically stay in your stomach longer.
This would suppress the hunger hormone ghrelin, making you feel a bit fuller. This can help prevent any overeating if you consume a meal or snack soon after eating the flaxseeds.
What is the Best Flaxseed Meal substitute?
The best substitute for flaxseed meal (ground flaxseed) is chia seeds. Both are highly soluble and can be used interchangeably.
The exchange isn’t an even split however, as chia seeds will absorb more liquid than flaxseeds. Start out using ½ the amount and adjust accordingly.
I hope you have found an inspiration or two in this article on how easy it can be to add seeds to your weight loss journey, happy cooking!