Why are Sunflower Seeds a Popular Ice Fishing Snack?
In many places, sunflower seeds are a common snack until it gets cold outside. However, in some areas, like Minnesota, people actually eat more sunflower seeds in winter than any other time of year. Why does this happen? The answer is simple: winter is when people go ice fishing.
On these ice fishing trips, fishermen and women will pack lunch, maybe dinner, and snacks, and one of the most popular ice fishing snacks is sunflower seeds. Below, we’ll cover a few reasons why, starting with some nutritional facts.
Small but Mighty Sunflower seeds contain many nutrients, from vitamins E and B1 to magnesium. These nutrients and vitamins work together to create a snack that reduces blood pressure and sugar, improves overall heart health, and even reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Versatile Seeds When you think of eating sunflower seeds, you either envision cracking open the shells with your teeth, spitting them out, then enjoying the kernel, or scooping a handful of them directly into your mouth. There are many other ways to eat them, however.
You can bake them into bread or the muffin you brought as a treat. Maybe you added sunflower seeds to your salad or stir fry, mixed them into your breakfast yogurt, or even made trail mix or granola bars with sunflower seeds. You can use the satisfying crunch and nutty flavor they provide to make many dishes more exciting, delicious, and satisfying.
Keep the Weight Off Along with exercise, diet is an important part of losing weight. Ice fishing may not provide much of a cardio workout, but you will likely get hungry, and bringing healthy foods can help you stay on track as you enjoy your seasonal hobby.
As mentioned above, sunflower seeds contain many nutrients, leading to a healthier body. Fiber helps keep your bowels healthy while also helping you lose weight. Protein can help you retain muscle mass, and this, combined with unsaturated fats and fiber, helps keep you full, preventing you from overeating. They can also be added to many of the foods you already eat, making them convenient as well.
Stay Hydrated While the main draw of sunflower seed snacks may be their flavor, crunch, and versatility, their salt content also needs to be considered. Salty snacks like chips or pretzels are also popular ice fishing snacks for similar reasons to sunflower seeds: they’re crunchy, tasty, and easy to snack on. However, salty snacks provide an extra benefit you may not have considered: they make you thirsty.
As you fish, staying hydrated may not be at the front of your mind, but you need to drink plenty of water to stay healthy, especially in winter's dry, cold air. In addition, salty snacks will make you more thirsty, giving you an incentive and compulsion to drink water more regularly and, thus, stay hydrated.
Bonus Bait Winter is cold, which can cause rivers, ponds, lakes, and other bodies of water to freeze, which is a good thing for our fish friends. They're cold-blooded, meaning they can’t regulate their body temperature, but the frozen top layer provides insulation and keeps them warm as they swim underneath. To ice fish, however, we must cut a hole in this icy blanket.
Fish will likely avoid this opening since it's cold, and there may not be any food there due to the temperature. With all of this in mind, ice fishing without bait can be a challenge, but not in a fun way. To encourage fish to bite your hook, you need to use some kind of bait; this is where sunflower seeds can come in handy.
Some fishermen have had luck catching fish by attaching a sunflower kernel to their jig head hooks. Even if the fish don’t bite, however, they tend to be at least attracted to it. Some have even attracted fish by occasionally dropping a kernel or two in the hole. So if you’re struggling to get a nibble and have some sunflower seeds nearby, you could experiment with these techniques to see how the fish react.