Feeding the birds is a nice thing to do, but feeding your

kids can be even more fun!

If you missed the new Spring issue of Edible Marin Wine Country you can still read my article right here.

Do you remember when you were in grade school

and you made pine cone feeders for the birds?

Picture this—the teacher gave out a paper plate

with a bit of peanut butter that you spread onto a pine cone

and then rolled the whole thing in birdseed. IF it made it

home in one piece, you hung it up in a tree, and, if you were

lucky, the birds came to enjoy it and you got to watch them

feed at your very own creation.

For some, seeds are strictly “for the birds.” I have noted that

this is particularly true for children. Getting kids excited

about any food can be a real challenge, but texture seems to

be a particularly important component in whether a child

will embrace a new food. Kids can be picky about certain

things like large pieces of tomato or onion in sauce, and

nothing can be too gritty, too slimy, or too green—just to

mention a few. Seeds definitely fall into this texture category:

seeds in their bread, on bagels, in rice or in trail mix.

But, it is spring and a time for renewal and attention to

healthy eating. The seed family, which includes nuts, beans

and grains, contains fiber and essential fatty acids which are

vitally important to growing bodies and, especially, brains. In

addition, they can add great dimension and flavor to foods.

To make sure your child is getting his or her seeds, and

liking them too, try making this yummy protein powder to

have on hand to sprinkle over a variety of different foods—

we think it is exceptionally delicious sprinkled on a sliced

banana, drizzled with honey and served with thick Greek

yogurt. They should too!


1 Tbsp. Flax seeds

2 Tbsp. Sesame seeds

2 Tbsp. Sunflower seeds

Grind all three seeds together in a coffee grinder or blender.

May be stored in the refrigerator for up to one month.

The most nutritious seeds in the world:

Flax Seeds

The protein in flax seeds is easily digested and contains all

the amino acids needed for building a strong body.

Sunflower Seeds

These little gems are packed with nutrients. In fact, they are

considered by many to be the most perfect in nutrients, supplying

all the body’s needs except vitamin D, which can be

easily obtained by standing in the sun. Birds at a feeder will

pick through all the other seeds to get to the prized sunflower

seed. Birds are smart!

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seed oil contains omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids

making them highly nutritious. Pumpkin seeds are also a

great source of vitamin A, calcium and iron.

Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds contain 19% protein, compared with 13% in

eggs. They are also an excellent source of B vitamins and

other minerals.

Because seeds contain such a large amount of oil, they can go

rancid fairly quickly. Their shelf-life will be extended by roasting

them in the oven or toasting them on the stove top. This will also

change their flavor, however. Additionally, raw is the most healthful

way to eat seeds (and most nuts) because the essential oils in

them may be damaged by the heat. You can tell if seeds are rancid

because they will have an acrid or “off” odor. Try a taste test with

your kids, raw vs. toasted, to see which they like better.

Lil' Dipper

Be a Star and Connect the Dots.

This is a fun way to learn about the stars and eat healthy

at the same time. If you have a peanut allergy or would

just like to try something new, use sunflower butter or

another alternative butter.


• A plate with a rim

• Zip top bag

• 1/4 cup peanut butter or sunflower butter, at room


• 1/2 cup assorted unshelled seeds (sunflower, flax, sesame,

and/or pumpkin)

• Celery or carrot sticks and crackers

Fill the bag with the nut butter, seal and squish down to

one corner. Snip a very small tip off one corner of the bag.

Make dots on the plate in the configuration of the Little

Dipper. (See photo on page 44.)

Have your child use the peanut butter baggie to connect

the dots making a “Lil’ Dipper” shape. Fill in the “ladle”

of the dipper with peanut butter.

Sprinkle the seeds over all the peanut butter lines, letting

him or her decide on the colors and sizes of the seeds they

want to use. Shake off the excess seeds and use the celery,

carrot and crackers to scoop up the seed-y masterpiece!

Stumble Upon Toolbar


Simply Life said...

Great info to share - thanks!

Gretchen said...

Probably a dumb question, but do I use shelled pumpkin seeds or just leave the shells on?

Jennifer Carden said...

All the seeds should be unshelled.