Everyone loves a crunchy, salty snack. However, high levels of fat and sodium are not good for you and have been shown to cause obesity and other health issues. How can you eat snacks without becoming unhealthy?
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The answer lies in nature’s secret superfood: nuts. Nuts of all kinds are easy ways to keep up your protein intake without increasing your fat or sugar intake. You can eat them raw, roast them, or use them in recipes, and they will maintain flavor and texture.
Healthiest Types of Nuts
Nuts are healthy for you because they’re naturally high in protein¹, low in fat, and contain several nutrients. Unless you are allergic to nuts, the natural health benefits make these some of the healthiest and most delicious snacks.
Known for their green color and ability to mix well with other nuts, pistachios are delicious on their own. Pistachio nuts are tasty health foods that are high in vitamins, nutrients, and minerals². Additionally, they can also help you lose weight especially in-shell pistachios³ since they encourage thoughtful eating.
Pistachios have a sweet and soft taste that is highlighted when they are roasted and salted. In addition to pistachio ice cream and pudding, pistachios often feature in more savory dishes. However, they are delicious when eaten plain.
Cashews might be the most popular type of nut in the world. They are sweet and buttery, with a soft crunch. These nuts are delicious and have lower fat levels⁴ than most other nuts (although they are higher in sugar and carbohydrate content).
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Although cashews aren’t the healthiest of nuts, they’re still much more healthy than other options for snacks. Cashews blend well with many flavors and are extremely popular as roasted⁵ and coated⁶ as well as make for a convenient portable snack. They can be used in a variety of meals including soups, salads, and tofu to mention a few.
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Sunflower seeds are a delicious and healthy snack, known for their unique nutty taste. They are a type of food that can be consumed roasted, raw from the bag, found in trail mix, or combined in other meals.
The flavor of them is often described as nutty and bittersweet however there is a variety of flavoured sunflower seeds including crab roe flavor⁷, salted egg flavor⁸, bbq flavor, and others. Sunflower seeds have a high nutritional value⁹, are high in vitamin E and selenium, and are beneficial in preventing chronic illnesses.
Peanuts are the most ubiquitous nut in the world, especially in North America. They are used in sauces and recipes worldwide, including peanut sauce, peanut butter, and peanut oil. You can get them roasted, salted, raw with the shell, in sweet potato flavor¹⁰, and a lot more. However, peanuts are not technically nuts.
Because peanuts grow in the ground instead of on trees, they are legumes and are closer to the bean family than the nut family. However, this hasn’t stopped them from becoming some of the most popular nuts in the world and providing a low-calorie alternative to potato chips and pretzels.
Almonds are widely hailed as the healthiest and most nutritious nut¹¹. They have been made into almond flour, almond milk, almond cream, and almond yogurt, among other products, and have the right consistency and flavor to replace most dairy products.
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Almonds have rightfully gained this popularity--they are extremely low in fat and sugar and high in protein and fiber. Almonds are best roasted or sliced up and put in salads, as their hard, seed-like texture can be difficult to chew.
Walnuts are extremely low in sugar and high in protein. They also have a higher fat content, which adds to their smooth and sweet flavor. These nuts¹² are some of the most popular in the world, and for a good reason; walnuts blend well with virtually any flavor and texture.
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Walnuts are often used in salads and paired with fruits or cheeses. Their crunchy texture is great raw or roasted. However, if you don’t do well with tannins¹³ (substances that latch onto proteins and cause a migraine for some), walnuts might not be the best choice for you!
Pecans are famous for their soft texture and flavor, especially when roasted or in pies. Pecans are an exceptionally sweet nut and are often featured in desserts. However, pecans have a lot of nutritional value despite their sweet flavor.
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Pecans are high in protein¹⁴ and low in carbohydrates and taste just as delicious on their own as they do in pies and tarts. They are also relatively low in fat and make great additions to a trail mix or box of mixed nuts.
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Macadamia nuts are known for pairing with chocolate in many cafe and grocery store cookies. However, they are just as delicious without the sweeter side and are often roasted and eaten as snacks worldwide.
Macadamia nuts have a smooth, buttery taste and are extremely popular because of this. They aren’t as high in nutrients as some of the other nuts on this list, but they are low in calories and make a great, guilt-free snack¹⁵.
Brazil nuts are the largest naturally occurring tree nut in the world and are native to South America. They are extremely popular, especially in nut mixes, for their salty taste and smooth texture. Brazil nuts make excellent snacks¹⁶ and are the highest producer of dietary selenium in the world.
Brazil nuts are only higher in calories than other nuts because they are larger. However, these nuts are incredibly healthy and can replace most of the other salty snack options in your pantry.
Pine nuts are small and delicious little nuts that are used in hummus or pesto. They are not incredibly common nuts but have a fantastic flavor and provide over 100% of the daily manganese value.
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Pine nuts¹⁷ are usually either roasted and eaten like sunflower seeds or used in recipes to add flavor and texture. However you use them, these little nuts will liven up your recipes and your diet!
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Hazelnuts are pretty healthy, despite being the most popular pairing with chocolate in condiments such as Nutella. They are high in manganese, copper, and Vitamin E and provide fiber and protein as well.
Hazelnuts are sweet, which is why they are used in coffee and chocolate products so often. However, they also pair well with savory items such as salads or nut mixes. Hazelnuts make a great addition to a healthy snacking habit
Now that you know which nuts are healthy and easy to buy, try eating them more often! Whether you use them as snacks¹⁸ or in recipes, you’re sure to start a healthier life with more nuts in your diet!