When it comes to losing weight, there is a common misconception – that calories, no matter where they are coming from, are the primary target in your weight loss endeavors. It doesn’t really matter where they come from, you just have to eliminate them in order to achieve your weight goal.
Obviously, this is disastrous thinking. In fact, you need calories, or rather energy, to live. Therefore its essential to get the right amount. To achieve a healthy weight, you also have to know where your calories are coming from. And although there really is no such thing as a “good” or “bad” food, some foods are indeed better choices than others.
The reason for this is that some foods help you feel fuller longer and can provide more of the nutrients your body needs to help you feel your best and stay active. So instead of looking simply at the calories, why not look at the overall nutritional quality of the food, how it makes you feel, and how satisfying it is? In order to successfully reach a healthy weight, all of these principles matter.
Nuts are a great example of a food that often gets sacrificed in the name of weight loss. Why? Because nuts are not really considered a low-calorie food and its relatively easy to over-consume them. Yet despite this, nuts are actually a great food to incorporate into your day if you are looking to lose or maintain your weight.
Not only are nuts rich in protein, they also tend to be rich in fiber, antioxidants, and healthy fats. This combination of nutrients means that incorporating nuts into your meals or snacks can boost both the nutrient content and staying power of your diet. This in turn can result in reduced calorie intake, less fat accumulation, and increased energy expenditure. Recent studies have also shown that nuts aren’t as efficiently absorbed as other foods which may result in a further reduction in calorie intake.
Almonds, peanuts, pecans, pistachios, and walnuts are just a few great nut options worth considering and each has its own unique taste and qualities.
Instead of just eating them by the handful, which can quickly lead to overindulging, consider incorporating nuts into your meals or snacks in place of foods rich in saturated fat.
A few of my favorite nut swaps include:
- Nuts for Croutons. If you like the crunch of a crouton, but want a little extra nutrition, consider swapping out croutons for nuts on your next salad.
- Yogurt Toppings. Consider chopping up your favorite unsalted nut variety to top your yogurt off with. It’s a great alternative to granola and adds a little extra texture to your snack. Add fresh fruit for an extra health bonus.
- Homemade Nut Butter for Store Bought Peanut Butter. There are a lot of great peanut butters on the market, but its relatively simple to make your own nut butter at home. Use your food processor and grind your favorite nuts until the desired consistency is met. Add honey or cinnamon for a creative flavor twist.
- “Nut”crumbs. Crush up your favorite nuts and use the “crumbs” as you would traditional bread crumbs . Its a creative way to add a little extra nutrition to your favorite dish.
What’s your favorite nut?