Nuts are a great source of protein, especially when you’re on-the-go or you’re looking for an afternoon snack. Personally, I’ve never hit my 4pm snack attack and said, "gee, a piece of boneless, skinless chicken breast would hit the spot right now." But a few salty cashews will! The problem for me is cashews go down too easily as do peanuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, and pecans and that healthy handful becomes a dietary danger! Luckily, after a side dish of roasted Brussels sprouts with pistachios on the Thanksgiving table I have a new (safer) obsession!
While checking out the December issue of SHAPE on the train back to NYC (yes, us web editors actually read the print edition for fun) I learned about what researchers call “the pistachio principle.” Two new studies from Eastern Illinois University found that people who were served the nuts in the shell consumed about 40 percent fewer calories than those who snacked on the ready-to-eat version. Why? Lead author James Painter, Ph.D., R.D., suggests that prying them open slows your pace, so you can realize you’re sated. The shells also serve as a visual cue, making your portion seem bigger and reminding you of how many you’ve eaten. The benefits likely apply to any nuts—walnuts, pecans, etc. I’ll have to give it a try.
For now, I have a brand new bag of pistachios at my apartment for snacking and I’m enjoying other nuts in ways that are less likely to become a problem for me. I love cashews tossed in stir-fry, almonds in my oatmeal, walnuts sprinkled in a baked sweet potato, and pecans in a hearty fall salad. This way I still get to enjoy them within reason.
Did you know:
An ounce of nuts has around 170 calories plus healthy fats, fiber, and protein. It takes your body longer to digest fat than other nutrients. And that helps to fend off hunger and binges!
As an editor at SHAPE I have the chance to learn about the healthiest ways to cook, eat, and live from all sorts of experts but I’m also a single girl living in NYC with a busy schedule, active social life, and chocolate cravings. I’m here to share what works for me—and where I need a little help from you.