Nuts are one of the best snacks you can reach for when the mid day hunger strikes. They are packed with protein, fibre, and healthy fats; all of which help keep you satisfied post meal and help reduce cravings.
What makes nuts so NUT-ritious?
Nuts are heart healthy. They are a great source of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
Nuts are rich in fibre, which helps regulate bowel movements and assists in helping keep you full longer (in turn this helps manage weight)
Nuts are rich in antioxidants, which help keep our bodies healthy and work to prevent chronic disease
They are a plant based source of protein, which also helps keep you satisfied post meals
They have anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, large research studies have found significantly lower amounts of inflammatory biomarkers (measures in the blood) in adults consuming 5 or more servings of nuts each week (Yu et al., 2016).
What is a serving?
1/4 cup of nuts = 1 serving
Many studies have shown the benefits of having 1/4 cup, 5 or more times each week. So, go nuts and enjoy some of your favourites!
Nutritional breakdown of some favourites:
1/4 cup Almonds: 8g protein, 4g fibre, and 17g healthy fats
1/4 cup Macadamia nuts: 3g protein, 3g fibre, 25g healthy fats
1/4 cup Cashews: 10g protein, 2g fibre, 24g healthy fats
1/4 cup Walnuts: 4g protein, 2g fibre, 16g healthy fats
1/4 cup Pistachios (my personal favourite): 6g protein, 3g fibre, 14g healthy fats
People are often concerned about the amount of fat in nuts, but it's important to remember that nuts are a source of mono and polyunsaturated fats (the good guys) which our bodies need. In fact, the unsaturated fats help keep your heart healthy and can work to lower cholesterol.
How can I incorporate nuts into my meals?
Make sandwiches and wraps using natural nut butters such as peanut butter and almond butter
Add nuts to your breakfast yogurt, cereal, or oatmeal
Top your salads with nuts for added protein
Add nuts to your healthy treats (e.g., cookies, muffins etc.).
Throw your favourite nuts into smoothies and milkshakes
Add spices to your nuts and roast them
Enjoy fresh fruit with nut or seed butter (e.g., apple and almond butter)
What if I have nut allergies? What are some healthy alternatives?
We can't forget about those with nut allergies, but there is good news! There are some amazing and healthy alternatives for individuals with nut allergies that have similar properties to nuts (healthy fats, fibre, and protein).
1/4 cup Sunflower Seeds: 7g protein, 3g fibre, 18g healthy fats
1/4 cup Pumpkin Seeds: 3g protein, 3g fibre, 3g healthy fats
1/4 cup Sesame Seeds: 7g protein, 4g fibre, 18g healthy fats
Other great options include chia, ground flax, and hemp seeds.
Seeds can be used in similar ways to nuts. Sunflower seed butter (it's delicious) can be used for sandwiches and wraps and seeds themselves can be added to smoothies, salads and yogurt. They can also be roasted and added to breads and desserts.
If you are feeling extra nutty, give this almond butter recipe a try!
Makes approximately 1 cup of almond butter
Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and evenly spread almonds on top. Bake for 8-10 minutes and remove and let cool.
In a food processor, add almonds and blend until smooth. This will take a while (you might feel like it will never happen, but it does….be patient). Keep breaking and scraping down the sides of the processors because it will likely clump.
Once it is smooth, you can add the spices and continue to blend further.
Transfer to a glass mason jar and enjoy for up to 10-12 days (keep refrigerated).
Cheers to happy and healthy snacking!
Until next time,
Eat Right Feel Right - Benish and Angela XO
Yu et al. (2016). Associations between nut consumption and inflammatory biomarkers. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/104/3/722/4564733