Dietitian’s Dish: Dietitian pick of the month: California walnuts

Published 6:14 pm Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Back-to-busy season is upon us! Fuel up for a school day or the hustle and bustle of every day with your Hy-Vee Dietitian’s Pick of the Month: California walnuts. Not only are California walnuts versatile, but they can also easily satisfy sweet or savory cravings while adding a boost of flavor, texture and nutrition to keep you energized and full.

Nearly 9 in 10 people are worried about consuming dietary fat, just as much or more than they were five years ago. However, what do walnuts, avocados, salmon and extra virgin olive oil have in common? They’re all sources of good fats! The first step to embracing good dietary fats is to fill your plate with more nutrient-dense foods, and to replace saturated fats with unsaturated fats. Toss walnuts into an on-the-go snack box or kick up a stir-fry with toasted walnuts for an added crunch. Your brain and heart will thank you!

Still not convinced? Here are five reasons why Hy-Vee dietitians go nuts for California walnuts:

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ESSENTIAL ALA OMEGA-3: Walnuts are the only nut with an excellent source of the omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA (2.5g/oz). The adequate intake for omega-3 ALA is 1.6 g/day for men and 1.1 g/day for women.

LASTING ENERGY: Walnuts provide 190 calories per one-ounce serving, which is equivalent to ¼ cup, approximately 12-14 walnut halves or a handful.

GOOD FATS: Walnuts are a good-fat food with 13 grams of polyunsaturated and 2.5 grams of monounsaturated fat of the 18 grams of total fat in one ounce of walnuts. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats (like those found in walnuts) to support cardiovascular health.

PLANT PROTEIN: Walnuts have 4 grams of protein per one ounce serving, an essential nutrient that provides the body what it needs to grow, build muscle and bone and stay healthy.

FIBER: Walnuts have 2 grams of fiber per one ounce serving, an important nutrient that supports heart health, gut health and weight management.

The following recipe is not only nutritious and energizing, but it is so simple, its nuts! For more walnut-inspired recipes contact your Hy-Vee dietitian or visit

Walnut, Quinoa and Ranch Chicken Salad

Serves 1

All you need

• 1 (4.2-oz) container cooked quinoa

• 1 cup (1.5-oz) light ranch dip

• ½ can (2.5-oz) chicken breast meat

• ¼ cup cherry tomato wedges

• 3 tbsp Hy-Vee English walnut pieces, toasted and coarsely chopped

• 2 tbsp ranch flavored kale chips

Optional toppings

• 1/3 cup diced cucumber

• 1/3 cup minced red onion

• 1/3 cup sliced ripe olives

•¼ cup bacon bits

All you do

1. Stir together quinoa and ranch dip in a medium bowl.

2. Lightly stir in chicken, tomatoes and walnuts.

3. Top with a small handful of diced cucumber, red onion, olives and bacon bits for extra crunch and flavor, if desired.

Recipe source:

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This information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.