Nuts can be delicious and full of nutrients, but they are also calorie-dense. Here are some tips for smart snacking with nuts & seeds to keep your diet balanced
Nuts (and seeds for those of you who have nut allergies) are nature’s powerhouses: they have fiber, protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Nuts and seeds are an excellent addition to any healthy diet, but since they are concentrated sources of fats, it’s still a great idea to watch your intake and not over-eat them. Over-eating any food (fruits and veggies included) isn’t so great for your stomach or digestion, so it’s a good idea to eat smart with all foods.
Here are 4 tips for smart snacking with nuts and seeds:
Combine nuts or seeds with other foods
If you’re eating nuts or seeds for a snack, pair them with protein, fruits or veggies, and water for a nutritionally well-rounded and filling snack so you’re getting calories from other sources, too. If you are eating only nuts or seeds, you are more likely to over-eat them
Watch portion sizes with nuts and seeds
Nuts have fiber and protein but are still concentrated sources of fats so pay attention to portion sizes. Pre-portion nuts, and don’t snack mindlessly right out of the container. Consider your nut/seed intake with all the other fat content of your meals.
If you’re adding nuts to things like salads, make sure they are pre-portioned as well. Plus, eating too much fat in one sitting can be difficult for your body to digest (especially if you already have digestive problems), so make sure you portion out your nuts and seeds first.
Make healthier choices by replacing junk foods with flavored nuts
Flavored nuts and almonds are great subs for chips and sweets. Blue Diamond makes sweet and savory seasoned almonds for when you’re craving sweet or salty snacks. The Blue Diamond Honey Dijon Almonds or the Habanero Barbecue flavors are excellent if you are craving salty and crunchy snacks. If you’re craving sweets, try their Honey Roasted Cinnamon or their Cocoa Roasted Almonds. You will get lots of flavor with less sugar and more protein and fiber
Mix it up
Don’t eat just one kind of nut or seed all the time, make sure you are adding variety and rotating your nuts and seeds. A diet that has a lot of variety ensures you get a good mix of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
And if you are prone to food intolerances (like I am), it is a great idea to rotate nuts and seeds to keep your digestive system from developing a sensitivity to any one particular kind. I know personally if I over-eat certain foods and eat them constantly, I am more likely to develop an intolerance to that food, which limits your food options. Seek variety!
Sarah Jane Parker is the founder, recipe creator, and photographer behind The Fit Cookie. She’s a food allergy mom and healthy living blogger based in Wyoming. Sarah is also an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, ACE Certified Health Coach, Revolution Running certified running coach, and an ACE Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist