Nuts and seeds are amazing little powerhouses of nutrients. A friend to anyone eating a whole food plant-based diet, they offer many of the same nutrients found in animal products (iron, calcium, protein, B vitamins and more). Yet unlike meat and dairy products, nuts contain predominately heart healthy mono-saturated fats along with fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. Nuts are powerful disease fighters!
A little goes a long way since nuts and seeds are calorie dense, but don’t shy away from them if you’re trying to lose weight. They are both satisfying and nutritious.
A few dos and don’ts:
- Stick to raw or dry-roasted nuts and seeds, since roasting means added oil.
- If you have high blood pressure, opt for the unsalted version.
- Steer clear of packaged nuts with glazed sugary coatings, toffee, chocolate, or BBQ flavoring, etc. If you’re not convinced, read the label!
Use the guide below to get an accurate sense of the number of nuts/seeds in a 1-ounce serving. You might even portion them out in snack bags and keep some at your desk or in your bag.
A few more tips on incorporating nuts and seeds in your diet:
- Try adding hemp or chia seeds to smoothies, salads, soups.
- Top salads with a handful of sesame seeds, walnuts or pine nuts to up the protein content.
- If you’re feeding a family, buying nuts and seeds in bulk makes sense. Store them in an airtight container (glass is great), or freeze them until ready to use.
- Enrich baked goods with walnuts and pecans. For picky eaters, ground them up and no one will be the wiser.
- Pack lunches with a handful of lightly salted almonds instead of packaged chips or crackers.
- Strive to regularly include the big winners – almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, and flax seeds. Enjoy others in moderation.