The Sustainable Nut Habit
By now the health benefits of eating a small portion nuts daily is well-known. They give us protein, good fats, and will assist with weight-loss. However, eating nuts can still seem like more of a chore than a joy to eat. In a health plan they often sit on the to-do list unless we’re trying to convince ourselves that snacking on the roasted and salted variety is as beneficial as raw and unadorned.
So how can we make our nut plan healthy and sustainable, and not just let them sit in that bulk buy bag in the back of the pantry?
Buy bulk, but not too bulky. Good nuts don’t come cheap, but even though they seem hardy you don’t want to be eating any that have been sitting around for too long as they can go off and become rancid. You can freeze nuts, but if that’s just going to mean stashing them away behind the vodka and popsicles, that’s not going to be good for your plan. So buy in quantities that are good value but not overwhelming.
Replace muesli bars and other high-energy bars with nuts. Don’t be fooled by nuts being included in your “health” bar. They are only one ingredient with usually a lot of added sugar and salt. Replace with the bar with a handful of nuts.
Add to salads. There’s not many of us who can get through the day on lettuce and cucumber as well-intentioned as that may seem. We still need fiber, protein, and some fats as part of a healthy diet. Nuts will give your salad an added boost and you the energy you need.
Add to cooked food. Try throwing some pine nuts in with your pasta. Or hazelnuts and walnuts in the turkey or chicken stuffing. Texture and taste.
Add to smoothies. That’s a breakfast that’s sure to keep you lasting. Sometimes the banana, milk and yoghurt don’t quite give you the oomph you need. Chuck in some walnuts and you’re good to go.
Sprinkle raw, sliced almonds on your cereal. Again, don’t be fooled by cereals that already contain nuts. Remember all the other stuff that they contain also that you don’t need or want.
Mix them up. Don’t get hung up on one type of nut as, like berries, they are not all created equal. Cashews have good iron content while almonds have calcium.
One of the most appealing aspects of nuts is how they’re grown – from trees – those amazing oxygen engines of our planet. By eating nuts you are not only sustaining your own health, but the health of the planet. They are an excellent substitute for the grains that are grown in unsustainable monoculture systems.
Nuts: little miracles.
Written by: Emily Duncan
Emily Duncan lives in New Zealand where she writes for www.forestfarms.net a site which promotes sustainable farming methods using tree crops. Her background is in teaching, theatre and writing.