How to Eat More Nuts
You’ve heard about all the nutritional benefits of nuts, and there are more ways to eat them than by the handful.
It’s no secret that eating nuts is a good thing for your diet and overall health, and now a new study reveals that replacing less healthy snacks with nuts or peanuts is linked to a lesser risk of becoming overweigh or obese. Consider this one more reason to pass on chips and cookies, and make the swap for a couple serving of nuts and take advantage of the nutritional benefits.
A serving of nuts counts as one ounce of nuts or 2 tablespoons of nut butter, so it’s pretty easy to get a serving or two by eating nuts straight up. But if you’re interested in a more creative approach, we found some other ways to make the most of your nut obsession; plus learn what different type of nuts offer in the nutrition department.
Packing, Storing and Prepping Nuts
Nuts are always ready-to-eat, making them well-suited for make-ahead meals and snacks. Meal prep guru Toby Amidor, MS, RD, a best-selling author of Smart Meal Prep for Beginners and The Healthy Meal Prep Cookbook has a few pointers: “With a long shelf life, nuts are perfect ingredient for a variety of meal prepping dishes,” says Amidor. “Make a trail mix or nut medley using your favorite nuts and package into single-serve containers so you can grab-and-go throughout the week. Stash those containers at your desk, in your car or in your gym bag. You can also store a few bags of your favorite nuts in your pantry to add to your meal prepping salads, grain dishes or cooked veggies.”
The Best Ways to Use Different Nuts
Cashews make a perfect addition to salads, fried rice and even chili. Cashews have a creamy texture making them a favorite for vegan versions of creamy sauces and cheese. To bring out the creaminess, soak in water overnight and then drain and blend with fresh water or broth.
Cashew Nutrition Facts: 1 ounce of cashews (about 18 nuts) contains 155 calories, 12g fat and 5g protein
Looking for a super munchable and crunchy nut? Reach for pistachios like Amy Gorin, owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition and nutrition partner with Wonderful Pistachios. “I love pistachios. Close to 90 percent of the fats found in pistachios are the good-for-you mono- and polyunsaturated type.” They also have one of the highest protein content of any nut clocking in at 6 grams per quarter-cup serving. “Swap breadcrumbs for crushed pistachios in your favorite salmon, chicken breast or tofu recipe,” adds Gorin. “You’ll add in plenty of fiber and healthy fats to the recipe!”
Pistachio Nutrition Facts: 1 ounce of pistachios (about 50 nuts) contains 160 calories 13g fat and 6g protein.
A popular snack food, almonds are some of the most popular nuts around. They are rich in magnesium and vitamin E, plus boast 3.5g of hunger-fighting fiber per serving. Season with sweet or savory spices, soak and blend into almond milk or grind onto almond flour for gluten free baking.
Almond Nutrition Facts: 1 ounce of almonds (about 24 nuts) contains 160 calories 14g fat and 6g protein
Compared to other nuts, walnuts are lower in protein and higher in healthy fats, including those coveted omega-3 fats. Store these delectable nuts in the fridge or freezer to get the longest shelf life. Walnuts make a crunchy addition to salads and smoothies, plus they are a wonderful meat replacement in burgers and tacos.
Walnuts Nutrition Facts: 1 ounce of walnuts (about 14 halves) contains 185 calories 18.5g fat and 4g protein
Although they are technically a legume, peanuts also deserve a seat at the you-should-eat-more-of-them table. According to the National Peanut Board, eating a handful of peanuts (about 20 pieces) 5 to 6 times per week is associated with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Whether it is slathered on an apple slice or tucked into a peanut butter and jelly sandwich peanut butter, healthy portions of peanut butter can be a guilt-free indulgence. It’s also a wonderful base for sauces and salad dressing.
Sherry Coleman Collins, consultant and registered dietitian for the National Peanut Board has even more delicious suggestions. “My favorite way to enjoy peanuts is right out of hand, but they are also delicious topping salads, crushed and incorporated into coating for fish or chicken, and mixed with popcorn and chocolate candies for movie night!
In our house we're also crazy peanut butter lovers and enjoy peanut butter on waffles, in smoothies, and blended into spicy sauce for noodles.
You can’t beat the price point either, as they tend to be the most affordable nut.
Peanut Nutrition Facts: 1 ounce of peanuts (about 30 to 35 peanuts) contains 164 calories 14g fat and 7g protein
The often overlooked Brazil nut was the subject of a recent study that determined that snacking on them could help keep blood sugars remain more stable after a meal. All nuts high in healthy fats and fiber could potentially facilitate these benefits, but Brazil nuts may have an edge in part to their high selenium content. Just one ounce of Brazil nuts (about 8 nuts) contains 777 percent of the daily requirement of selenium.
Brazil Nuts Nutrition Facts: 1 ounce of Brazil nuts (about 8 nuts) contains 185 calories 19g fat and 4g protein
Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. She is the author of four cookbooks First Bites: Superfoods for Babies and Toddlers, The Healthy Air Fryer Cookbook, The Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook and Healthy Quick and Easy Smoothies.
*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.