At this time of year chestnuts might be roasting on an open fire but there are a large variety of nuts and seeds available to enjoy this holiday season.
Commonly used nuts are walnuts, almonds, pecans, cashews, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, peanuts, pistachios, macadamia nuts and chestnuts. Seeds include sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, chia, flax, hemp, pomegranate, caraway, and poppy seeds.
Nuts and seeds contain protein and more unsaturated fat than animal protein. The fat in nuts is mostly heart healthy unsaturated fats and contains phytosterols which may lower cholesterol and lower risk of heart disease. They are loaded with vitamin E, selenium, magnesium, potassium and fiber.
The FDA recommends 1.5 ounces per day. The calories in nuts add up fast. A 1 ounce portion of nuts is roughly ¼ cup. Choose raw or roasted nuts and seeds and oven roasted instead of honey roasted or other kinds with added salt and sugar. The shelf life of nuts varies but freezing them can extend the shelf life.
Some easy ways to include nuts:
- Toss in salads, cereal and casseroles
- Add to quick breads and muffins
- Spread nut butters on fruit like apples and pears
- Add in trail mix
- Top yogurt, pudding and cooked vegetables