Wining & Dining
Let's get Nutty!
10/1/2019 1:00:00 PM
Nutty

When Should We Introduce Nuts? 

Could early avoidance of high-risk foods be partially to blame for increased allergy rates? In 2008, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) rescinded its recommendation to hold off on introducing high allergy-risk foods to healthy infants. Based on a 2015 study in the New England Journal of Medicine, the AAAAI issued a statement of the importance of early introduction of developmentally appropriate peanut products in almost all children, regardless of their allergy risk. Discuss how to do this specifically with your pediatrician.


Heart-Healthy Fact or Fiction?

Will eating nuts lower your risk of heart disease? Almonds and walnuts are the best studied. Most nuts or seeds should help lower your LDL ("bad”) cholesterol. That’s because they contain considerably higher amounts of polyunsaturated (LDL-lowering) fats than saturated (LDL-raising) fats. The nuts with the most poly vs saturated fats are walnuts, sunflower seeds and soy nuts. Brazil nuts, cashews, and macadamias have the least polyunsaturated fats. Remember to eat nuts in place of foods that are high in saturated fats (ex. ice cream or cheese) or in refined carbs (ex. chips, cupcakes or cookies). Lowering LDL is reason enough to add nuts to your diet. But there’s more! A 2013 study in the New England Journal of Medicine reported people who ate 120 calories a day of nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, and walnuts) for nearly five years had 30 percent fewer cardiovascular events . . . especially strokes. 


In a nutshell, yes—nuts are a wonderful way to add in heart-healthy crunch to your diet. Just ignore most packaging claims and be mindful of the counter-productive impact of eating nuts smothered in sugar, salt, or fake yogurt. Nuts are a great way to help you thrive! To learn more, visit nuthealth.org.


What’s in a Serving?

Most studies show that people who eat a serving of nuts a day don’t gain weight. The key is understanding portion sizes. Nuts are filling, so people usually compensate by eating less of something else. Nuts are also calorie dense, so you must keep track of how much you’re eating. Expect to consume 150-200 calories per one ounce serving of nuts or seeds. What does one ounce look like? Often, pre-packaged nuts contain more than one serving, so always read the nutritional content on the packaging. One ounce of pumpkin or sunflower seeds is approximately ¼ cup, or four level tablespoons. 


Stephanie is a local speech-language pathologist/pediatric feeding specialist and wellness coach. She enjoys helping families become happy and healthy adventurous eaters.


OCTOBER IS National NUT Month


Are nuts all they’re cracked up to be? Nut companies promise that their products will make you more energetic, powerful, slimmer, protect your heart, and deliver a healthy load of protein, vitamins and minerals. You’ve seen the ads. Nuts and seeds are indeed rich in heart-healthy 

unsaturated fats and other great nutrients, but not all nuts are created equal. What’s more is that peanuts and soy nuts are technically not even nuts—they’re legumes. But most studies lump them together and most people do too, unless there is an allergy. In that case, it’s important to specify a tree nut or peanut allergy. 


Swap Nuts for Less-Healthy Options


Sprinkle toasted nuts or seeds on your salad instead of croutons


Eat a peanut butter or almond butter sandwich instead of ham & cheese


Garnish sautéed vegetables with slivered almonds or pistachios instead of cheese


Snack on a handful of nuts & berries instead of a granola bar


Here’s a quick guide for the number of nuts in a one ounce serving:


-Almonds: 20-24 

-Brazil Nuts:          6-8 

-Cashews: 16-18 

-Hazelnuts:         19-21

-Macadamias: 10-12

-Peanuts:          35-40

-Pecans:         18-20 halves

-Pistachios:          47-49 

-Walnuts: 10-14 halves



Stephanie’s Nutty Monster Mouths


Here is a fun way to get the kids in the kitchen with you and incorporate nuts into a healthier treat. These Monster Mouths are perfect for Halloween parties!


Ingredients: celery stalks (washed, cut into 3-inch pieces, patted dry); peanut or almond butter; variety of nuts and seeds (ex. slivered almonds, pumpkin seeds, peanuts)


Spread the peanut butter or almond butter along the center of each celery stick and wipe the excess off the edges.  Arrange the nuts and seeds in any pattern you choose—each one will be unique! 

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