Almonds are the king if nuts and nuts are a healthy addition to your diet. Nuts are full of protein and fiber; they also contain monounsaturated fats (the good ones), vitamins and minerals. Nuts help the body fight against heart disease, obesity and muscle loss, so they are a great workout partner whether you want to lose weight or build muscle. They help to keep your arteries clear and suppress appetite.
Nuts have always been a no-no for dieters, because they are high in fat. Research has now shown us that it is the type of fat we need to worry about, not just all fats. In fact, the body needs to have some of the good fats. Of course, discretion is needed here – you can’t gobble down a pound of peanuts in one go and think you’re OK. A handful of nuts a couple of times a day is healthy, an excess is not.
When you start to watch what you eat, particularly if you are trying to lose weight, one of the early problems you face is munchy attacks. You know the feeling – you are not REALLY hungry but you crave something. This is where nuts come in – because they are hard, they need a bit of chewing and this chewing helps to assuage your hunger pangs. A small handful of nuts, preferably almonds, makes a good snack or pick-me-up at any time. Drink a glass of water with your almonds and your hunger will be gone.
Here are quick tricks to do with almonds to give you a variety of snacks and meals with a crunch.
â€¢Â Take some yogurt; add a chopped banana, a little honey and a handful of silvered almonds. Mix together for a great snack or nutritious breakfast.
â€¢Â Almonds go well in stir fry dishes – Chicken and Almonds is an Asian classic.
â€¢Â Add chopped almonds to cooked vegetables before serving.
â€¢Â Make a healthy smoothie with skim milk, fruit, wheatgerm, chopped almonds and yogurt.
â€¢Â Toss slivered almonds through a salad.
â€¢Â Add chopped almonds to the stuffing for chicken or turkey.
â€¢Â Make your own crunchy peanut butter by mixing in some chopped almonds.
â€¢Â Try this for a healthy snack – coat almonds (in their skins) in olive oil, place on a baking sheet and cook for about 10 minutes in a moderately hot oven. While still hot, roll in chopped herbs and sea salt for a savory treat, or cinnamon for a sweet treat.