Crazy for Nuts

National Nut Day is celebrated on October 22nd each year in honor of all the health benefits attributed to nuts. Nuts are traditionally categorized under the food group of ‘protein’ along with fish, meat, eggs, poultry, and legumes because of their high protein content. The fats in nuts are generally considered healthful as they are typically ‘polyunsaturated’ or ‘monounsaturated.’

While the nutritional profile of nuts differs from one variety to the next, almost all nuts are a very good source of B vitamins and a rich source of minerals. They are also a storehouse of rich antioxidants.

Nuts and nut butters are often a contributing source of nutrition in many healthful vegetarian recipes. Nuts are also a nutritious and portable snack.

But remember to consider portion size. One ounce of nuts is considered a serving. Roughly speaking, this can be visualized as a “handful” of nuts. For an average size nut, a one ounce serving may consist of between 18 and 28 nuts. For example, a one ounce serving of almonds equals about 23 kernels and contains about 160 calories, 6 grams of protein and 14 grams of fat.

While nuts have a decent shelf life, they are in fact perishable. Because of the high fat content of nuts, they can go rancid over time. Rancid nuts have a characteristic smell of nail polish or paint and a sour, bitter taste and should be tossed. Proper storage can help prevent nuts from going bad.

  • For quantities of nuts that will likely be consumed within three months, simply store in a dry, cool pantry at room temperature. Keep nuts in a sealed container away from other foods that have strong odors.
  • For nuts that will be stored for between three and six months, place them in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
  • If nuts will not be used within six months, store tightly sealed in the freezer for up to a year.
  • TIP: To freshen any type of nut before consuming or cooking, toast on a baking sheet in a 350°F oven for 10 minutes or place nuts in a small bowl and microwave on High for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.

Nuts are great in taste! Whether you like them roasted or raw, these little packets of goodness have a way of pleasing your palate as well. Enjoy nut butters or incorporate into recipes.

  • Next time you’re craving fried chicken, try this healthy Crispy Baked Chicken recipe. With only 4 ingredients, the recipe features chicken that is coated in crunchy walnuts and packed with immune-boosting nutrients.
  • This Chicken Salad loses calories but not flavor with a creamy mix of low-fat mayonnaise and fat free sour cream. Walnuts give this healthy chicken salad a good dose of omega-3 and a nice crunch.
  • These easy Teriyaki Chicken Skewers have great teriyaki flavor without the high sodium or additives. A tasty peanut sauce gives them a mild but delicious flavor that even the most finicky eaters will love.
  • For a fun dessert for the whole family, make Rice Krispies® Treats. Creamy peanut butter, maple syrup and honey give this healthy snack a high-energy boost.
  • Ground hazelnuts make a great sauce for asparagus or other veggies. Simply heat in a dry non-stick pan until aromatic, add a splash of wine, stock, oil and lemon, and heat until thick.
  • You can enjoy pasta with Pesto sauce and still keep your carbs, sodium, and fat in check. A healthy substitute for traditional pasta, spiral zucchini noodles are available in the fresh vegetables section at McCaffrey’s. Or try using pistachios to make homemade pesto. Simply spoon over risotto or pasta!

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