When that mid-afternoon hunger creeps in, you always reach for a bag of sunflower seeds to munch on. Since you’ve started the keto diet, you’ve been incorporating healthier snacks into your life. Can you still eat sunflower seeds or are they not considered keto?
Sunflower seeds are very much keto-friendly, containing 9.2 grams of carbs per 46-gram serving. That’s just 3 percent of the recommended daily allotment of carbs. If you’re consuming 50 grams of carbs per day to stay in ketosis, you can enjoy sunflower seeds without overloading on carbs.
In this article, we’ll talk further about whether sunflower seeds are keto as we present a full list of nutrition facts for these seeds.
We’ll also delve into how to eat sunflower seeds on the keto diet and discuss other seeds that are keto-friendly as well!
Let’s get started.
Sunflower Seed Nutrition + Keto Status
Sunflower seeds come from the Helianthus annuus or sunflower plant. This plant produces the large, sunny yellow blooms that you see at farms and in fields. The flower heads are where the seeds come from.
Since each sunflower head is over 12 inches, food manufacturers get 2,000 sunflower seeds per flower head. Sunflower seeds feature a hull, which has white and black stripes. The taste of sunflower seeds is nutty but not strong. Their texture is tender yet firm.
Are sunflower seeds keto? Yes, they are!
Here are the full nutrition facts for a serving of sunflower seeds that’s approximately 46 grams.
- 269 calories
- 24 grams of total fat (31 percent of your recommended daily value)
- 2 grams of saturated fat (10 percent of your recommended daily value)
- 1 milligrams of sodium (0 percent of your recommended daily value)
- 2 grams of total carbs (3 percent of your recommended daily value)
- 4 grams of dietary fiber (14 percent of your recommended daily value)
- 2 grams of sugar
- 6 grams of protein (19 percent of your recommended daily value)
Outside of the above nutritional value, sunflower seeds are also loaded with nutrients and minerals such as:
- 88 milligrams of calcium (3 percent of your recommended daily value)
- 42 milligrams of iron (13 percent of your recommended daily value)
- 297 milligrams of potassium (6 percent of your recommended daily value)
- 18 milligrams of vitamin E or alpha-tocopherol (72 percent of your recommended daily value)
- 6 milligrams of vitamin C (1 percent of your recommended daily value)
- 619 milligrams of vitamin B6 (48 percent of your recommended daily value)
- 80 micrograms of beta-carotene
- 681 milligrams of thiamin (57 percent of your recommended daily value)
- 163 milligrams of riboflavin (13 percent of your recommended daily value)
- 520 milligrams of pantothenic acid (10 percent of your recommended daily value)
- 834 milligrams of niacin (24 percent of your recommended daily value)
- 42 micrograms of folate (26 percent of your recommended daily value)
- 3 milligrams of choline
- 3 milligrams of betaine
Getting back to carb content, a serving of sunflower seeds contains a little more than 9 grams of carbs. For the average keto dieter, their daily carb range (outside of cheat days, that is), is anything from 30 to 50 grams of carbs per day.
For a snack especially, 9 grams of carbs is not a lot of your overall carb load. You could eat a small portion of carbs for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even dessert and still stick within your carb macros while enjoying sunflower seeds.
It’s only those on a strict keto diet of 20 grams of carbs per day that should limit their sunflower seed consumption. At 9 grams of carbs for 46 grams of seeds, it would take only two servings of sunflower seeds to practically hit your carb limit for the day.
Since sunflower seeds are quite addictive and hard to put down once you open them, you’d have to exercise some good self-control!
How to Eat Sunflower Seeds on the Keto Diet
The question when it comes to how to eat sunflower seeds is whether you should enjoy them raw or roasted. That’s your choice and depends on what your taste buds are most craving.
Roasting sunflower seeds brings out their depth of flavor more than eating them raw, but they’re delectable either way.
Here are some ways to eat sunflower seeds that make use of both raw and roasted seeds.
Sunflower Seed Butter
Although spreads such as butter are technically keto, they’re not the healthiest for you. Butter is laden in both fat and calories, after all.
The next time you want a nutty spread but your pantry is devoid of peanut butter, make sunflower seed butter instead! You only need sunflower seeds (2 ¼ cups), a sweetener such as Stevia (a teaspoon), a touch of salt, and coconut or grape-seed oil.
First, turn on your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the sunflower seeds on a baking sheet. The baking sheet should have parchment paper. Let the seeds roast, which will take between 5 and 15 minutes depending on your oven. Stir the sunflower seeds so none of them burn.
Take the sunflower seeds out of the oven and give them time to cool to room temperature. Then transfer them to a food processor, pulsing the seeds. Once they reach a texture like graham cracker cheesecake crust, add the other ingredients. Continue pulsing until the sunflower seeds become smooth and buttery.
Put the sunflower seed butter in a container and cover it. In your fridge, the butter should be good for a few months.
Sunflower Seed Crackers
Eating sunflower seeds straight from the package isn’t the only way to snack on this keto food. You can also make sunflower seed crackers. You’ll need sunflower seeds (1/3 cup), pink Himalayan salt (half a teaspoon), psyllium husk (3 tablespoons), and water (2 cups).
Transfer the water into a mixing bowl and add the psyllium husk. Then gradually dump in the salt and the sunflower seeds, stirring as you do. After 15 minutes, you can bake the crackers in an oven at 350 degrees. It will take about 30 minutes for the crackers to become firm.
Let them cool for a minute and then slice them. Next, put the crackers back into the oven, cooking them for 15 minutes more so they get crispy. Put the sunflower seed crackers you’re not eating in an airtight container for later.
Sunflower Seed Flour
Here’s something you don’t have to make, as you can find sunflower seed flour at many grocery stores. It’s probably not a product you noticed before, but it’s totally keto with a nutty and sweet flavor much like sunflower seeds themselves.
If a recipe calls for almond flour, you can use sunflower oil in its place in the same quantities. Its flavor will augment that tried-and-true bread recipe you love.
Roasted Sunflower Seeds
For those who are curious about what roasted sunflower seeds taste like, it’s super simple to roast your own. Take sunflower seeds a cup at a time and put them in a medium-sized saucepan. Add water (a quart) and table salt (2 tablespoons) to the pan.
Let the water begin boiling, then set the heat to a simmer. After 15 minutes of simmering, the seeds are ready for the oven. Turn your oven to 400 degrees. Lay out the sunflower seeds on a baking pan. You can bake them directly on the pan if you want without parchment paper.
Watch the seeds, as it should only take about 10 minutes for them to get dark. The seeds might need 15 minutes depending on your oven, but no longer than that.
Do Sunflower Seeds Make You Gain Weight?
You can’t get enough of sunflower seeds, but sometimes you worry. You know that you should eat everything in moderation, but since they’re healthy, it’s okay if you have extra sunflower seeds, right?
No, at least not if you want to lose weight. Sunflower seeds are not the lowest in calories. They contain over 200 calories per serving. That’s not a lot of calories, but it’s also not a few. If you have two servings of sunflower seeds in one sitting, that’s more than 400 calories you’ve ingested.
Since sunflower seeds are small, it’s hard to count out the quantity, which could encourage overindulgence. Others eat too many because they figure that hey, sunflower seeds are small, so they can’t be that calorically heavy.
Keto dieters are usually more concerned with counting carbs than calories, but it’s good to pay attention to both. Overdoing it on the calories can knock you out of ketosis and cause you to gain weight.
Our recommendation is to eat no more than one serving of sunflower seeds per day. Considering the satiety that nuts and seeds are known for, you shouldn’t be hankering for more than that anyway!
Other Seeds and Nuts That Are Keto-Friendly
You don’t want to get sick of sunflower seeds, right? By incorporating other keto seeds and nuts into your diet, snack time will never be boring!
Try eating more of the following.
- Almonds – 5 grams of total carbs, 14 grams of fat, 6 grams of protein, and 164 calories per 38 grams
- Pine nuts – 4 grams of total carbs, 19 grams of fat, 4 grams of protein, and 191 calories per 28 grams
- Sesame seeds – 7 grams of total carbs, 13 grams of fat, 5 grams of protein, and 160 calories per 28 grams
- Peanuts – 6 grams of total carbs, 14 grams of fat, 7 grams of protein, and 164 calories per 28 grams
- Hazelnuts – 5 grams of total carbs, 17 grams of fat, 4 grams of protein, and 178 calories per 28 grams
- Hemp seeds – 2 grams of total carbs, 14 grams of fat, 9 grams of protein, and 155 calories per 28 grams
- Walnuts – 4 grams of total carbs, 18 grams of fat, 4 grams of protein, and 185 calories per 28 grams
- Flaxseeds – 9 grams of total carbs, 9 grams of fat, 6 grams of protein, and 131 calories per 28 grams
- Macadamia nuts – 4 grams of total carbs, 21 grams of fat, 2 grams of protein, and 204 calories per 28 grams
- Chia seeds – 12 grams of total carbs, 9 grams of fat, 5 grams of protein, and 138 calories per 28 grams
- Brazil nuts – 3 grams of total carbs, 19 grams of fat, 4 grams of protein, and 185 calories per 28 grams
- Pecans – 4 grams of total carbs, 20 grams of fat, 3 grams of protein, and 196 calories per 28 grams
Containing about 9 grams of total carbs in a 46-gram serving, sunflower seeds are a smart keto snack. You can enjoy some sunflower seed butter in the morning and munch on sunflower seed crackers before dinner.
Remember though, everything in moderation!
Although sunflower seeds are small, they pack a caloric punch that could hinder your weight loss goals if eaten in large quantities.