The Nutty Truth About Weight Loss - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi

The Nutty Truth About Weight Loss

Walnuts, almonds, pistachios, peanuts and hazelnuts: what do they all have in common? Over the past several years, numerous studies have shown the healthful nature of nuts. Nuts are a nutrition powerhouse, packed with protein, fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They help control weight and reduce the risks of heart disease and diabetes. Other studies have shown that women who snack on nuts tend to weigh less than those who do not.

How do they do this? Because of the higher fat content and fiber, nuts provide a feeling of fullness and keep you from feeling continuously hungry when you are trying to cut back on calories. Only one ounce of nuts each day is all it takes to get the heart healthy benefits and keep your calorie-reduced diet on track.

What does an ounce of nuts look like? One ounce of nuts is about what fits in an Altoids box--that's about 47 shelled pistachios, 30 peanuts, 24 almonds, 20 pecan halves or hazelnuts, and 14 walnut halves, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. Dietitians recommend one ounce of nuts, or one tablespoon of nut butter, five days a week.

Does moderation make a difference? Although nuts are very healthy and good to eat everyday, you have to watch your portions. A one ounce serving of nuts contains between 160 and 200 calories, most of which come from the heart-healthy, monounsaturated fat. The best thing to do is to substitute one ounce of nuts for other "not so good for you" foods in your diet to keep your calories under control.

Nutty Tips:

Listed below are ways to enjoy nuts without overindulging. Following these tips will help you keep portions small and avoid mindless eating.

  • Pre-portioned nuts in small bags - a great snack to take on the go or to the office.
  • Choose nuts in the shell; you will probably eat fewer since it takes time to crack them.
  • Take a handful and put the package away before you start munching.
  • Sprinkle nuts on a soup or salad instead of croutons or cheese.
  • Snaock on nuts instead of pretzels or chips.
  • Top yogurt with nuts instead of granola.

Add the delicious flavor and crunch of nuts to all kinds of foods from sweet to savory.  Toasting them first will bring out their flavor and enhance a simple dish.

  • Top hot or cold cereal with nuts for a nourishing breakfast.
  • Pasta comes aliive when sprinkled with chopped nuts.
  • Slivered almonds do wonders for everything from chicken to desserts.
  • Add crunch and satiety to bread, pancakes, waffles or muffins with nuts.
  • Mix nuts with light cream cheese for a delicious spread.
  • Add nuts to popcorn for a tsty snack.
  • Enhance the flavor of steamed veggies with a handful of nuts.

Go nutty with one ounce of nuts per day.  You'll reap all kinds of health benefits.

For individualized meal plans and nutrition counceling, make an appointment with a Registered Dietitian.

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