Nuts are a part of the Mediterranean diet. Nuts are good for you. They have the good fats. etc. etc. You have seen all the headlines. Which nuts are best for you? How much can you eat daily?
All nuts (tree nuts and ground nuts) are good sources of monounsaturated fats (the good fat). An ounce of nuts has about 150-200 calories and 15-20 grams of total fat. Nuts have gained popularity as a good snack for their low carbohydrate content. One of the common mistakes is that people tend to eat a lot more than an ounce of nuts at a time. It is easy to overdo.
Here is how much an ounce of nuts equals:
- Almods: 23
- Cashews : 18
- Pecans: 19 halves
- Pistachios: 49
- Brazil Nuts: 6
- Peanuts: 45
- Pine Nuts: 165
- Walnuts: 14 halves
So when you eat a handful, it is usually 2 servings (2 ounces) adding a whopping 300-400 calories just in a snack. Ideally, you want to make it a fistful (a closed fist or 1/4 cup) to equal an ounce so you don’t have to count each nut/half. It is a good idea to add a fresh fruit to supplement you nut snack to give you enough volume and fiber to gain satiety.
A serving of nut butter is about 2 Tablespoons. It is good ti use only 1 Tablespoon and add some fresh veggies or fruit to eat it with.
Think childhood favorite “bugs on a log” (Celery with Peanut Butter and raisins) or Apple slices with Almond Butter.
Another good way to incorporate nuts into your diet without overeating them is to add them to salads, whole grain muffins, oatmeal or overnight oats as a topping. That way just a sprinkle of nuts will do and you’ll save a lot of calories while still enjoying the crunch.
Nuts do provide the good fat, some protein and some fiber. They are not necessarily the best sources of protein and fat. That’s why Almond Milk usually has rice or hemp protein added to it. Almond Milk provides all it’s calories from fat when no other protein is added to it.
Go ahead eat a variety of nuts. Just mind the portion size.