Move over nuts because we are going nut-free today. We’re doing a recipe round up of no nut bars.
Why no nut bars?
Seeds are nice to snack on their own but sometimes it’s nice to jazz them up a bit.
Seeds pair wonderfully with yummy ingredients like dates, coconut, chocolate chips to make bar that is perfect anytime of the day. These nut-free bar recipes are super easy too and that means you’ll be building kitchen confidence, a key part of The Mindful Gut™ Approach.
With each recipe we’ll also talk about the gut health benefits of seeds.
Why you want to eat more seeds for your gut health
The magical combo for a gut health snack is protein and fiber. These two nutrients complement each other and seeds give you both making them a wonderful gut-healthy snack.
Protein is one of the most satiating of nutrients which means it helps keep you full and manage your hunger hormones. Fiber also helps to keep you full in addition to helping your gut microbiome.
Seeds are really the whole package because they have healthy fats in addition to protein and fiber. Fats are important for hormone health, heart health, and more.
Seeds have Omega-3s
If you’re someone who doesn’t eat fish then you’re going to appreciate this fact. Seeds are a source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3s help fight inflammation in the body along with being important for brain health, heart health, and immunity. There is also emerging research looking at omega-3 fatty acids and possibly impacting the gut microbiome along with the gut-brain axis (4).
Keep in mind that seeds are a plant-based source of omega-3s which aren’t as strong as the animal-based sources of omega-3. Does this mean you should stop eating seeds and go for salmon? Nah, you want to get a mix of both types.
Our first no nut bar are these peanut-free snack bites from Elysia at Haute and Healthy Living. Cups count as bars right? I think so.
Sunflower butter makes up the base of these bites and they’re topped with chocolate chips and pumpkin seeds. They also use hemp hearts which are also a source of omega-3s. I love these hemp hearts for baking and blending into my smoothies.
Seeds have both soluble and insoluble fiber
Soluble and insoluble fibers benefit your gut and your whole body and seeds have both types.
Soluble fiber is food for the gut bacteria that make up your gut microbiome. This helps keep your gut happy and produces compounds like short-chain fatty acids which help the lining of your gut strong.
Insoluble fiber helps with easy effortless pooping by adding bulk to your poop and helping you flush out toxins.
Sarah at Bucket List Tummy uses a mix of chickpeas, sunflower seed butter, and sunflower seeds to make these yummy nut free protein bars.
And if you want a truly easy snack these sunflower butter pouches give you 2 grams of fiber and you can keep them stocked at your work desk.
Seeds can be good for hormone health
Quite a few seeds also have a variety of vitamins and minerals that have positive effects on hormone health.
Pumpkin seeds are a good source of zinc which is being looked at for women’s health concerns like PCOS because zinc can play a role in regulating the menstrual cycle (1).
Flax seeds are a good source of a plant phytoestrogen called lignans. Lignans can bind to excess estrogen and also be a weak estrogen after menopause (2). Lignans are also being looked at for having the potential to affect the gut-brain axis (3).
Seed cycling is a popular topic that comes up when you google women’s hormone health. Seeds are great for hormone and gut health but seed cycling isn’t necessary. Instead, focus on a variety of different seeds throughout your menstrual cycle.
This banana chocolate chip muffins recipe from Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean features flax and technically isn’t a bar but you could make them into one.
Make sure to use a good quality ground flax seed. I love this one from Manitoba because their processing method locks in the nutrition. Flax also works great as an egg-replacer you can use them to make these 2- ingredient sweet potato pancakes.
Can you eat too many seeds?
If you’re wondering if too many sunflower seeds or eat too many pumpkin seeds you’re not alone. Like with any food, no matter how healthy, too much can be a bad thing.
Best seed advice for your gut health
Listen to your gut.
Seeds are sometimes harder to digest for people more so if they have a history of digestive concerns.
If you feel like eating seeds is causing you issues, try these things out.
- Add seeds slowly into your diet, especially if they are in their whole form. Since seeds are higher in fiber your gut may not be used to you eating that amount of fiber.
- Soaking and sprouting seeds may help to increase seed digestibility.
- Try seed butter versus the whole seed.
Special note: If you have diverticulosis talk with your doctor for a personalized plan. Avoiding seeds may or may not be necessary. There is a good discussion on this topic from the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders.
These no nut bars are a winner
Because seeds are such a powerhouse of nutrients I encourage you to incorporate them into your life. They’re versatile and offer your gut and overall body many benefits.
Let me know in the comments. Which no nut bar recipe do you want to try?
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Amanda is a pizza loving registered dietitian nutritionist specializing in mindfulness and gut health. She quickly realized that gut health goes beyond the gut; it is also about honoring our gut feelings. She is the creator of The Mindful Gut™ which uses science and strategy to help people improve their gut health.