Packed with nutrients, vitamins, minerals, protein, and high in energy, nuts and seeds have it all! So many different varieties that they should be considered a super food. Low in saturated fats with no cholesterol, they are versatile to alternative high fatty foods and you will be enriching your daily diet to keep yourself healthy and fit.
Nuts get a bad wrap sometimes because they are known to be high in fat and in calories. Although this is true, if you consume them in moderation you not only get your required daily intake of calories from fat but you also benefit from all the vitamins and nutrients which you don’t get from other ‘fatty’ foods. One thing to keep in mind when consuming nuts is try to avoid salted and oil-roasted varieties and go raw instead.
I’m crazy about nuts as I can just grab and take them wherever I go. They have a long shelf life unlike fruits and vegetables and there is no preparation so they make a great snack when traveling. If I’m in a hurry and need a quick snack. I keep a large assorted variety of nuts and seeds stored in air tight packed containers in our pantry.
So what do I use them for? Anywhere from sprinkling them on my oatmeal in the morning to tossing them on a salad. As a replacement to cream, I also use nuts for creamy sauces in my pasta dishes. I have now become addicted to nut butter, cashew butter in particular. If you have a good blender or a vitamix, just simply grab a cup or a couple cups of cashews, place them in the blender, and a few minutes later, you have very creamy cashew butter. No additives or preservatives. Just simply tasty nut butter packed with nutrients.
Another great way to use nuts is as an alternative to dairy milk, you can also make your own almond milk or cashew milk. I rarely eat them on their own unless I’m hiking for long distances and make my own trail mix. Regardless, the ways are endless to include nuts into your daily eating regime.
There are many variety of nuts in which I use daily in my cooking and baking:
Seed varieties that I use in salads, smoothies, cooking, and baking:
I buy very little processed food so whenever I can, I make as many spreads as I can. I use tahini in my hummus and some other recipes. I like knowing what is going into my food and the below recipe for your own homemade tahini is simply easy and delicious. It lasts for up to 30 days in your fridge.
2 cups of sesame seeds
- Place sesame seeds on a cookie sheet and place in the oven at 350 degrees C. Roast for about 10-15 minutes and gently move the seeds around so they don’t burn.
- Remove the seeds from the oven and cool.
- Once cooled, place the seeds in a blender or food processor and blend until completely smooth. This might take about 5-10 minutes.
Homemade Almond Butter
I admit it. I’m addicted to nut butter! If you have some patience and want some creamy butter that is 100% natural, then I highly recommend trying it. If you want to get creative and add some flavour to your almond butter, you can add some maple or agave syrup. The almond butter lasts up to 30 days in your fridge.
1-2 cups of almonds (dry roasted & unsalted)
- Blend and pulse the almonds for a few minutes until the nuts are all broken up so it looks like almond meal.
- Scrape down the sides and stir it with a spoon. Continue to blend until it is smooth. This might take a few minutes so be patient and continue to scrape down the sides and stir until you reach the desired consistency.
So why are nuts and seeds good for us?
- They are rich source of minerals like manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, fluoride and selenium.
- They contain good levels of vitamin-E, a powerful lipid soluble antioxidant which is required for maintaining the integrity of cell membrane of mucus membranes and skin.
- Nuts provides many vital B-complex groups of vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6, and folates.
- They are rich source of all important omega-3 essential fatty acids like Linoleic acid, a-Linolenic acid (ALA),
Nuts are meant to be eaten by the handful, not by the bushel. Many people tend to stay away from eating nuts because of their fat content. I don’t recommend this unless you have nut allergies. If you think about the foods you are eating now that are high in fat and compare them with nuts, you are most likely missing out on essential nutrients. Take them in moderation and enjoy them for everything that they have to offer to your body on a nutritional level. I find just a handful of mixed nuts can crave my hunger needs until I’m ready to eat my next meal if I can find a quick, healthy snack.
If you eat whole and plant base foods, you don’t think about the calories or the fat content as there is such a variety of foods to be consumed and enjoyed. You will experience more energy and your body will thank you for the extra vitamins and minerals you are feeding it.
Go nuts and enjoy!