Nuts get a bad rap.
I know they’re high in fat and calories but sometimes you have to dig a little deeper. What KIND of fat and calories are we looking at here? Because I get not eating EMPTY calories, but nuts? They’ve got some good stuff in there.
Here’s the deal. There’s EMPTY calories and there are NUTRIENT DENSE calories.
They are not the same.
Empty calories are foods that have lots of calories but not much else. Like pop. Drinking a whole bunch of calories that are doing nothing for your body. Or cookies. I love a good cookie, but it’s typically full of calories and no fibre, vitamins, or minerals. Unless of course, you make MY version of cookies. 🙂
NUTRIENT DENSE calories are exactly what you think. Calories that are double or triple duty, containing fibre, vitamins, or minerals. Dates, for example. Lots of sugar and calories, yes. But paired up with fibre, protein, copper, magnesium, manganese, vitamin B6, niacin, and riboflavin. Not bad for the calories you’re taking in.
The same goes for nuts. The caloric intake is high but nuts also contain healthy fats, protein, and fibre. Not to mention calcium, vitamin E, C, iron, potassium, and omega-3 fatty acids depending on which nut you choose.
This doesn’t mean I think you should go and eat buckets of nuts at a time. Nope, a handful is still a perfect snack as far as I’m concerned, especially paired with fruit. And how easy is that for us busy parents who always need to have something to keep our kids full and happy? Nuts are the perfect go-to. Grab a banana, orange, or apple, and you’re good until dinner.
So. We know I’m a big fan of the nutrient dense powerhouse. But how to eat them?
Eating nuts in their raw form is an excellent way to make sure you’re getting all the nutrients. Not to mention, if you get them in their shell, it takes longer to eat them and you can recognize when you’re full, so you’ll most likely eat less. I like to choose the unsalted variety myself. If you always buy salted nuts, try the unsalted version. I bet you’ll get used to the delicious flavour pretty quickly.
Nuts are very good at holding on to their nutrients, even when roasted. You might lose some, but you also might find them easier to digest. Try it out and see what works best for you. I love them roasted and find the flavour much more intense.
I’m not a fan of the sugar coated nuts you can find at the gas station or in the aisles of the grocery store. The coating is usually just refined sugars or high fructose corn syrup. There’s nothing good about it-and this is where the bad rap about nuts comes from. If you’re going to look for a sweet and salty snack, I suggest you make it yourself so you know exactly what’s in it.
This Coconut Honey Roasted Nut recipe is an awesome snack. Adding coconut oil and honey does add to the calories, but also to the nutrition. Keep this recipe for special occasions-but do keep this recipe! Adding all the salt and sweetness yourself keeps the ingredient list to a minimum and the nutrition value high.
What’s your favourite way to eat them?