Tag Archives: cashews

Make your own healthy “graze” snack boxes

So snacking, it’s one of those things I definitely do. I tend to eat my 3 meals and at least 2 snacks a day. Which means my snacks need to be healthy, well most of them! Currently I am breastfeeding which makes me quite hungry at times. It is those moments when I have children clamouring for me, a baby wanting to feed and I know I need to eat that I need a ready to grab and go snack. That moment when it could be biscuits. Although I do eat my share of those too, I’ve recently discovered a wheat free dark chocolate and stem ginger cookie… dangerously nice. So to keep me on the straight and narrow I’ve started making snack boxes. This is something I often recommed to clients and many find them so useful. You can literally make a pile up for the week and take one to work each day, keep them in your bag or just on the worktop if you are at home.

Here are some of my favourite combos:

Cranberry.almond.choc
15g Dried cranberries, 15 almonds and 10g dark chocolate

 

Pecan,apple.edam
15g pecans, 15g dried apple, 1 tbsp dried edamame beans

 

Cashew.mango
15g cashews, 15g dried mango, 1 tsp mixed seeds

 

Brazil.apricot
5 brazil nuts, 3 dried apricots, 1 tsp mixed seeds

Here is me trying out Facebook Live and showing off my not so great phone video skills:

Love to hear your healthy snack box combos. Leave me a message/comment so I can steal your ideas too 😉

I tend to buy my nuts and dried fruit in bulk online (it is cheaper per kg but costs a bit up front) and I store a supply in the cupboard and a supply in glass jars on my shelf. Which looks pretty and also means we all see them and are more likely to eat them instead of reaching into the biscuit tin. 

“Keep healthy food – In plain sight so it is in your mind to eat it”

A good example of this is my toddler boy who often asks for “prawns” and points at the jars… he means prunes! 

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Why eating nuts can aid weight control.

A few things you may not know about almonds

The nutrition basics:

  • Almonds have a proven heart health claim. This is due to being high in monounsaturated fat and their vitamin E content. They are the tree nut with the highest amount of vitamin E. Proven to lower total and LDL cholesterol.
  • 1 handful of almonds contain a similar amount of polyphenols to 1 cup of green tea. 
  • They are low in glycaemic index and when eaten together they can lower the impact on blood sugars of other carbohydrate foods. 
  • 1 serving (1 oz) contains 12 vitamins and minerals (including folic acid, niacin, magnesium, vitamin B6, zinc, copper and potassium) and 6 g protein. This protein helps provide a powerful satiating effect, so they keep you fuller for longer.
  • They are the nuts with the longest shelf life.
  • You need 2 types of almond trees present for pollination, as the bees need to carry pollen from 1 type of almond tree to another.

Heart Health:

2 large studies show the heart health benfits of nuts:

1. Nurses’ Health Study (over 86,000 nurses followed over 14 years)

2. the Adventist Health Study (followed over 27,000 men)

Dietitian UK: Why almonds are so good for you

In total these studies assessed the diets of over 110,000 men and women and after adjusting for other risk factors they linked the intake of five or more servings of nuts per week to a 35 – 50 percent reduction in risk of coronary heart disease incidence and death.

If nuts are high in fat, won’t eating them make me fat?

It sounds like common sense doesn’t it. However the evidence begs to differ. Nut eaters tend to come out at a lower body weight than non-nut eaters. Here is one example for you:

A 24 week weight loss interventional study on obese women compared:

Group A who ate 84g of almonds per day, equivalent to 3 portions of almonds per day. 

A low calorie diet 

39% total fat, 25% MUFA and 32% carbohydrate

Group B on a low calorie, complex carbohydrate diet. 

(18% total fat, 5% MUFA and 53% carbohydrate)

Both diets were equivalent calories and protein. The results showed a 62% greater reduction in weight/BMI, 50% greater reduction in waist circumference and 56% greater reduction in Fat mass in the almond-group.

Int J Obesity Related Metabolic Disease (2003): 27: 1365.

The Reasoning:

Firstly….You don’t absorb all the calories from nuts. That fact blew me away the first time I heard it and understood it. In fact I know now that we absorb different amounts calories from different nuts. The research is ongoing on this and some of it so new it is yet to be published. for the same nuts there is then a difference in the amount of energy we absorb for different nut products – whole, chopped, nut butters.

Secondly…. the calorie content of foods is not that accurate. It is calculated using conversion factors rather than being measured.  Digestibility is not taken into account. If we measured the urinary and fecal energy after eating almonds we would get a more accurate figure, but just getting someone to eat only almonds so we can so this is an extreme task. Some new research has looked at another way of doing this using a base diet with and without almonds. This highlighted that there is a definite difference between the food label calorie content and the measured calorie content of nuts.

The real calorie content of nuts is 5-21% lower than the labels tell us. It varies depending on the type of nut and the processing of the nut. 

Take Home Message:

Nuts are good, no, GREAT for you when eaten in sensible portion sizes. Obviously overeating them can lead to excess calorie intake and weight gain. However,  when eaten daily, in portion controlled amounts, they can help with weight control, satiety and provide a good heart health benefit too.

I personally love the portion tins you can get. 

Portion:

A portion is described as: 1 oz, 2 tbsp, a small handful, 30g.

In actual numbers of nuts this is:

23 almonds, 18 cashews, 12 hazelnuts, 8 brazil nuts ,35 peanuts, 15 pecan halves or 14 walnut halves.

Dietitian UK: Nuts portion guide

 

 

Disclaimer: I recently attended a Round Table event for the Almond B0ard of California. Some of the information in this post has come from that day. This post was not paid for, nor was I asked to write it, it just interests me!

Heathy, Raw, GlutenFree, High Protein No Chocolate Brownies!

I’ve been seeing a few recipes for raw brownies floating around and each time I see them thinking…. “I really must try these out”. Last Monday morning was the time, for some reason I woke up full of cooking inspiration and whislt the toddler ate her porridge I knocked these up – they literally took that little time to make.

I was pleasantly suprised with the result and took them round to my friend Steph to try. They really are a chocolate substitute! Very rich, very nutty but gooey and satisfying.

 

Heathy, Raw, GlutenFree, High Protein No Chocolate Brownies!

Author: Priya Tew, Dietitian UK
Prep time:
Total time:
Ingredients
  • 2 cup dates
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup almond
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 2 tbsp nut butter
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp carob powder (use cocoa if wanted)
  • 2 tbsp honey
Instructions
  1. Soak the dates in warm water for 30 minutes, drain and process with the nuts plus the 1/4 cup cocoa powder.
  2. Press into a greased, lined, small baking tray, I used a small round cake tin.
  3. Mix the remaining ngredients together to make the topping and spoon over the base layer.
  4. Freeze for 30 minutes, cut into small squares (you really don’t need much of this).
  5. Eat and refreeze or fridge what you don’t eat.