Energy in Your Pocket
I am always asked “How can I keep my energy up and eat less?” The quick answer in a nutshell focuses on the nutritious options of nuts. All nuts with the exception of peanuts are from the fruits of trees. Peanuts are actually legumes, growing as pods burrowed under the ground.
Nuts are powerhouses of nutrients—they’re good for you but they can be high in fat and calories. The varieties at the top of the heap of healthy benefits include almonds, peanuts pistachios, and walnuts. They are all versatile, and snack-ready for out of hand eating or as ingredients in sweet and savory dishes. My focus today is on the ready-to-eat choices that can help you evade fatigue.
Almonds are available blanched and unblanched, whole, chopped and flavored. They are good sources of protein, calcium, fiber, potassium, B-vitamins and minerals. The nuts contain monounsaturated fats and antioxidants which are benefits for a healthy heart. An ounce of almonds is about 23 whole almonds and 160 calories.
Peanuts are a favorite with a well-established pedigree as a mobile snack. What’s a ballgame or an airline trip without humble peanuts? They’re available shelled and unshelled, raw, roasted and sometimes flavored. Nutrients include protein, calcium, b-vitamins, monounsaturated fat, minerals and antioxidants. One ounce of peanuts is just about 28 whole nuts with a calorie count of about 170.
Pistachios from outside of the United States were traditionally dyed red. Now that the nuts are grown in the U.S., they are found most often in their natural color with tan shells covering the pale green nuts. The green kernels are high-fiber, supplying protein, potassium, vitamin A, B-vitamins minerals, antioxidants, and monounsaturated fats. One ounce of pistachios is about 40 whole nuts and with about 180 calories.
Walnuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids, B-vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Research from the USDA indicates that consumption of 1.5 ounces of walnuts promotes the increase of good (HDL) cholesterol which is a plus in maintaining heart health. An ounce of walnuts is about 14 walnuts halves which equal about 190 calories.
I enjoy all nuts and eat them out of hand, but in confessing my favorites I go for peanuts and pistachios. These two are in a shell which makes me work twice as hard to get to the good stuff. The shell is a natural portion control barrier preventing me from eating them too quickly and in bulk. Because I’m often traveling to clients, health fairs, and on-site classes I keep nuts packaged in one-ounce servings in zip-top bags. This makes it easy to grab a bag and go. When they’re packed in an airtight container, I can keep them in the car about two weeks. A stash of nuts in the car can stave off hunger and low energy in any traffic jam!
Take Away: Nuts are portable and an excellent energy booster. Just remember moderation in all things. Eating too many nuts creates high calorie intake and will cancel out their nutritious benefits.