It is still the party time of the year, which means lots of eating, drinking and celebrating. It is also the time of the year when we see the nibble bowl being used again and again. In fact, you may not have seen the nibble bowl since last Christmas and you might not be seeing much of it after this week.
For those of you that aren’t aware, the nibble bowl is a small dish used to display crisps and nuts for guests to eat at parties and is often an enemy of anyone who is trying to keep in good shape. Nuts can play a huge role in a healthy lifestyle though and don’t have to be avoided – just make sure you know your nuts!
People behave cautiously with them because of their particularly high fat content but you have to remember that the majority of these fats are healthy ones that we actually need. Not to mention nuts are a great source of both fibre and protein too. This makes them especially valuable for vegetarians/vegans, who can often struggle to get high quality protein into their nutrition.
Some nuts are packed full of antioxidants and essential vitamins and minerals that can be hard to come by. Like I say though, each nut is unique and you need to be aware of what the ones you are eating have to offer.
Firstly, when you are in the supermarket, do try to get raw nuts. Once they start being processed you inevitably lose some of the benefits that have been mentioned. Adding salt is often unnecessary and roasting can add saturated fats and the high temperatures can alter the other health benefits.
You can even use nuts to make your own milks and spreads. There are plenty of great recipes online that you can use to make healthy alternatives to everyday products that we tend to eat, which tend to contain a lot of poor fats. Just remember that weight gain comes down to calories in vs. calories out though. Even if you are getting good fats instead of bad ones, you don’t want to be eating to success.
Let’s take a look at some commonly eaten nuts that you might consider trying:
- Brazils – Brazil nuts are generally quite large and are really high in fat, around 71g per 100g. Only 6 grams of this fat is saturated fat though, so there is a lot of high quality unsaturated fat to be got from brazil nuts. The are also high in iron which makes them great for superb blood health – definitely one to incorporate into your nutrition.
- Almonds – Almonds contain less fat than brazils, around 49g per 100g, but they also contain less saturated fat, somewhere between just 3-4 grams! In addition they are also high in protein with around 21g per 100g and also provide a lot of fibre, helping to control bowel movements. Their glycemic index is low too, meaning they don’t cause particularly high insulin spikes and they are high in vitamin B2 that helps with energy production. Simply put, if almonds aren’t something you eat regularly, I would suggest giving them a go!
- Walnuts – Walnuts don’t have as much protein in them as almonds, with only 15g per 100g, but they do have more unsaturated fats. In fact only per 100g, walnuts contain around 65 grams of fat, of which only 6g is saturated fat. I wouldn’t say they are nuts that you should rush to include in your day-to-day nutrition, but they can be a valuable addition.
There are so many other nuts that are absolutely fantastic for us, particularly when we are training. Cashews and pecans are another two that are particularly good ones to try! There are plenty out there to try, so give them a go. Remember to rotate what you eat to keep the menu exciting and check your labels to make sure they are the nuts you want to be eating!
So enjoy tucking into the nibble bowl and have a wonderful time whatever you have planned for the week – Happy New Year!!!