So a portion controlled serving of nuts can most certainly be part of a healthy meal plan! You can factor nuts into your typical daily eating plan or calorie levels, perhaps replacing another calorie-dense less nutritious choice with an ounce of your favorite nut. Take a look at some of these highlights for nut nutrition facts:
- 1 ounce of nuts contains about 160 to 200 calories and 13 to 20 grams of fat, depending on the type. These are heart healthy unsaturated fats, though, which can improve cardiovascular risk factors. These healthy fats can also help you feel full longer.
- Nuts contain protein, which is important for maintaining muscle mass and helping your immune system. Protein also helps you feel full and satiated, so nuts or nut butters are a perfect addition to a piece of fruit for a healthy, satisfying snack that will hold you over until your next meal.
- Many different nuts provide Vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps your body fight free radicals.
- Nuts also contain several B-vitamins, which are important for different reactions in your body including those that break down food into energy.
- Magnesium is found in many nuts, which is used in the contraction and relaxation of muscles. Some individuals believe magnesium may play a role in muscle cramps and migraines.
Here are some easy ways to include nuts in your diet for National Nut Day:
- Combine fruit with nuts or nut butters for a snack. Remember to watch your portions – try ½ ounce of nuts or 1 tbsp of nut butter.
- Blend nuts or nut butters into a healthy smoothie recipe.
- Mix nuts with dried fruits and a healthy cereal (one low in sugar and high in fiber) for a great trail mix.
- Need a quick breakfast? Mix nuts and fruit with plain lowfat greek yogurt.
- Add nuts to a salad. Some of my favorites include baby spinach with strawberries and pecans, or mixed greens with chicken, slices of green apple, and walnuts.
- Sprinkle nuts on top of whole wheat pancakes or whole wheat waffles.
- Add nuts like slivered almonds to vegetables like asparagus and green beans.
And one last tip - If you have problems with portion control, measure out ½ to 1 ounce servings of nuts into individual snack size bags. That way, you’ve got the perfect amount ready to grab-and-go for a snack!
What’s your favorite nut? Or your favorite way to include them in your diet? Share with us in the comments!