Nuts make a great snack. Throw 15-20 almonds in a baggie and bam, you’ve got healthy fast food. A pure simple raw nut is the perfect combination of fat, fiber and protein that feeds the brain and stabilizes blood sugar for hours on end.
Tree nuts such as walnuts, almonds and cashews are nutrition powerhouses packed with omega-3 fats and heart healthy nutrients. So, if you want to lower your cholesterol, suppress your appetite, and balance your mood while also boosting your stamina, chomp on a handful of nuts a day.
When I changed my diet to heal my gut (from acid reflux and inflammatory bowel disease), the usual go to snacks were no longer an option. Out the door went cheese, pretzels and sugary treats, and in marched almonds. During this transition, I ate a ton of almonds – whole almonds, almond flour, and almond butter. To avoid the added starch and salt from store bought roasted nuts, I’d buy raw almonds and roast them myself. Eating them raw wasn’t appealing because I don’t like the texture and taste of them raw. Call me crazy, but I’d even make my own almond butter from the almonds I roasted because I preferred the flavor over store bought jars of almond butter.
Of course like anything, after eating too many almonds, it’s easy to get bored. But the cool thing about nuts is that there are lots of varieties, shapes, textures and flavors to choose from. Walnuts are often overlooked because of their more acidic taste when compared to their sweeter crunchier cousin, the almond. Yet, walnuts are the richest of all nuts when it comes to omega-3 fatty acids which fight inflammation and lower bad cholesterol.
Instead of noshing on them raw, which again isn’t my cup of tea, I toss walnuts into a variety of recipes including pesto and lentil burgers or toast chopped walnuts then sprinkle them on salads, veggies or even gluten free pasta. One of my favorite recipes with walnuts is this easy walnut cookie recipe which adds a touch of sweetness and spice to the otherwise somewhat dull walnut….
What’s your favorite nut to nosh on?
Cinnamon Walnut “Macaroons”
2 cups raw walnut halves
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
¼ cup honey
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 egg whites
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place walnuts, coconut and cinnamon in a food processor. Pulse a few times until chopped to the consistency of gravel (not so finely chopped that it becomes walnut flour). Place walnut mixture in a mixing bowl. Add honey and stir to combine. If using raw honey, melt it before mixing.
In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites using a wire whisk or hand mixer until they are frothy. Gently, pour egg whites in the bowl with the walnuts and carefully fold egg whites with walnut mixture. Spoon dough onto a cookie sheet lined with either parchment paper or a silicone liner. Bake for 15 minutes. Keep in an airtight container in the fridge. Yum!