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Walnuts offer on-the-go wellness

Published 4:45pm Saturday, April 6, 2013

Spring is here and summer is coming.  What does that mean?  Well, if you are like me, it means you are outside more and on-the-go a little more.  What kind of snack can you pack to fuel your body on-the-go?  Walnuts are the perfect choice.  Why?

·Walnuts are a convenient source of protein and fiber

·Walnuts include essential polyunsaturated (good-for-you) fats

·Walnuts are an excellent source of ALA, a plant-based omega-3 fatty acid

·Walnuts have many antioxidants

·Walnuts can support cardiovascular health

 Heart Health

A Harvard Public School study published in the 2009 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that heart-healthy diets supplemented with walnuts may help improve cardiovascular risk factors, specifically lowering total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol. Including walnuts in the diet may also decrease inflammation and oxidative stress due to the high antioxidant content.

Diabetes

According to a Harvard study that focused on nut and peanut butter consumption and type 2 diabetes risk, women who ate one-ounce portions of nuts, such as walnuts or peanut butter, five times or more per week may lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to women who rarely or never ate nuts.

Weight Management

Controlling appetite is one key to weight management. Walnuts are the perfect choice for curbing appetite since they are an excellent source of heart-healthy fat and a good source of fiber and protein. Try counting out 14 walnut halves and place them in snack-size bags to keep portion sizes in check. Researchers noted in many studies that participants did not gain weight when walnuts were substituted for other fats in reduced-calorie diets.

Use & Storage

· Mix dried fruit and walnuts together for a simple snack.

· Add chopped walnuts to the top of a vegetable pizza.

· Toss chopped walnuts in a salad with blueberries, strawberries, feta cheese and a light vinaigrette.

·Sprinkle walnut halves on oatmeal.

·Make a yogurt parfait with chopped walnuts and fresh berries.

·Coat fish or poultry with chopped walnuts and herbs.

·Include walnuts in side dishes such as brown rice, quinoa or couscous.

· Top pasta dishes with walnuts.

For optimal flavor and freshness, store walnuts in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If storing them longer than one month, place in the freezer.

One ounce or about 1/4 cup (14 halves): 190 calories, 18 g total fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 2.5 g monounsaturated fat, 13 g polyunsaturated fat, 1 mg sodium, 125 mg potassium, 4 g total carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 4 g protein. NuValTM Nutritional Scoring System Score = 82 out of 100. The higher the NuValTM Score, the better the nutrition.

Lisa’s Granola

Makes about 10 cups

All you need

•6 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

•1 cup chopped almonds

•1 cup chopped walnuts

•1 cup raw, unsalted pepitas (see Tip)

•1/2 cup maple syrup

•6 tablespoons canola oil

•1/4 cup honey

•1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

•1 teaspoon vanilla extract

•1/2 teaspoon salt

 All you do

1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a roasting pan or large baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Combine oats, almonds, walnuts and pepitas in a large bowl. Whisk maple syrup, oil, honey, cinnamon, vanilla and salt in a medium bowl until blended. Pour over the oat mixture and toss to coat. Spread the mixture in the prepared pan.

3. Bake, stirring every 15 minutes, until lightly and evenly browned and starting to dry out, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Let cool completely in the pan before serving or storing.

Nutrition: Per 1/2-cup serving: 267 calories; 16 g fat ( 2 g sat , 7 g mono ); 0 mg cholesterol; 28 g carbohydrates; 8 g added sugars; 7 g protein; 4 g fiber; 60 mg sodium; 222 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Magnesium (32% daily value)

 


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