A Nutty Affair: Are you eating your favourite nuts right?


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It’s winter – the time of chapped lips and dry patches of skin. For centuries, we’ve implemented nuts into our diet to fight the winter harshness and fuel our bodies with the healthy nutrients they provide. Eating the right amount of anything is extremely important, and nuts are no exception. As crunchy and delicious nuts can be, they don’t necessarily need to be eaten raw to get the most out of them.

 

Here’s how some of your favourite nuts can help get you through winter with a tasty twist.

 

Peanuts:

These healthy boosters come in a variety of flavours; salted, spiced, coated etc. Although they’re most commonly associated with Peanut butter. Peanuts come packed with monounsaturated fats and studies focusing on the effects of peanuts have found that consuming the little legume has been associated with having a healthy heart. If that wasn’t reason enough, peanuts are also a rich source of Vitamin E, folate and manganese.

 

That’s not all, filled with almost 22% antioxidants, peanuts not only boost your immune system to keep you healthy through winter, but the toxins in peanuts make your skin oil’s free to help combat the dry skin that the weather entails.  A healthy serving of peanuts is about 8-10 per meal, but why stick to the traditional whole chunks of a nut when you can make it deliciously interesting? Here’s a simple recipe that’s sure to work its magic:

 

For a Peanut Butter Bagelwich for breakfast, you’ll need:

 

(serves 1)

1 bagel thin, toasted

2 tbsp. peanut butter

1 banana, sliced

½ tbsp. chia seeds

 

Simply spread each slice of a toasted bagel thin with 1 tbsp. peanut butter. Top peanut butter-topped bagel thin with banana slices. Sprinkle with chia seeds.

 

Almonds:

This healthy brain fuel is not only high in monounsaturated fats – similar to its nutty rival peanuts – but also contains the most fiber compared to any other nut. Not to mention the heart-friendly benefits, almonds also aid in shedding those extra few kilos. In fact, a study conducted on the subject found that those who incorporated almonds into their diet lost more weight than those who didn’t, also making your immune system stronger.

 

Almond oil is largely used in skin care and whilst it works wonders applied to the skin, it’s even better when consumed. The oils in almonds restore the lost sheen on your skin taken away from winter dryness and give you a natural glow. A recommended serving of almonds is 8-10 soaked almonds a day, eaten raw or combined with your favourite dish.

 

Grilled Almond Butter Cheese Sandwich for lunch.

 

2 slices multi or whole grain bread

2 Tbs. almond butter

1 carrot, thinly shaven

1/2 green apple, thinly sliced

1 thick slice cheddar cheese

1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil (or butter)

 

Spread the almond butter on the side of a bread and top with apple slices, carrots shavings, and the cheddar cheese. Press the other slice of bread on top.

Heat the oil or butter in a small skillet and grill to perfection.

 

Cashews:

This naturally creamy and crunchy delight contains the least amount of fat compared to any other nut. Approximately 82% of their fat is unsaturated fatty acids, plus about 66% of this unsaturated fatty acid content is the heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. This agreeable ratio of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats makes it the ideal nut for optimal health.

 

Cashews are also packed with iron, magnesium, and zinc with Iron helping deliver oxygen to all of your cells, preventing anemia whilst zinc is critical to immune health and healthy vision. The presence of Magnesium in cashews play a key role in improving memory and protects against age-related memory loss.

 

Almond Crusted Chicken with Cashew Butter

 

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1 cup sliced almonds, seasoned with salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 Tablespoon granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1/2 cup Cashew Butter

Pinch of cayenne pepper

3 Tablespoons Greek yogurt

Olive oil

 

Toss the sliced almonds and flour together into a large shallow dish or pie plate and melt the butter in the microwave and stir in the sugar and cinnamon.

Place the two chicken breasts in a large zipper-locked bag and pound the chicken until thinned to about half inch thickness.

Dip each chicken breast first into the cinnamon sugar butter, then into the sliced almonds, coating both sides.

Cook the chicken for 5-7 minutes on each side on a heated oil pan, flipping after about 3 minutes at a time.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, mix together the cashew butter and cayenne pepper. Heat over low heat until melted and warm. Stir in the Greek yogurt and continue to cook until glossy and thick.

Remove from the heat and spread half of the cashew butter onto each serving plate. Place the chicken breast on top, then sprinkle with the roasted cranberries.

 

Let’s get through winter one nutty dish at a time!