All nuts, nut butters and seeds should be eaten in moderation (no more than 1 to 2 ounces daily).
Food for thought...
- If nuts have their own natural oils, why would you eat nut butters with added oils? Sounds like more calories, unhealthy oils and processing to me!
- Have you ever opened a jar of 100% natural nut butter and turned your nose up because the top layer was oil? Get your stir on! Isn’t healthier worth making a stir about?
- Have you ever been curious and checked the ingredients in nut butters at the grocery store, even ones that are labeled “natural?” Why do so many large-scale brands of nut butters, especially peanut butter, find it necessary to use more than a handful of unnecessary ingredients?
- Would you consider packing nuts as a snack?
- Why are nuts and seeds awesome? What are some nutritional benefits that you know of?
- Have you ever thought about topping dishes with nuts or seeds, such as garnishing casseroles, stir fries, soups or salads?
- When breading foods, have you tried milled flaxseed rather than panko or bread crumbs? Why could this be much healthier?
The “No-No’s”: What should you steer clear of when it comes to nuts, nut butters and seeds?
- Avoid nut butter spreads. It should say “nut butter” not “nut butter spread.” Spreads consist of less than 90% nuts and who knows what else?!
- Avoid nut butters with added sweeteners such as sugar, corn syrup or molasses.
- Avoid nut butters with added oils such as hydrogenated oils.
- Avoid eating nuts or seeds, raw or roasted, with added oils or ingredients other than limited amounts of salt.
So, what’s okay to eat when it comes to nuts, nut butters and seeds?
- The nut or seed itself (limited amounts of salt are okay)
- 100% whole ground seed meals, such as 100% whole ground flaxseed meal (look for “100% whole”)
- Nut butters made with only the nut and a limited amount of salt (basically, the nut ground up into nutty goodness and occasionally a limited amount of salt... nothing else)
- Tahini made from hulled sesame seeds and nothing else
Some of our favorite FULLfood nuts, nut butters and seeds for you to try
- Pine nuts
- Brazil nuts
- Peanuts (sparingly)
- Nut butters that are 100% made from the nut and a limited amount of salt
- Blended nut butters made with a variety of different nuts and a limited amount of salt
- Our favorite blended nut butter’s ingredients are: cashews, almonds, sunflower seeds, pecans and walnuts. Nothing more!
Perfectly paired fruit, cheese and nut combos to top any salad
- Cheese: aged cheddar, baby Swiss, mozzarella, parmesan
- Fruit: apples, blueberries, clementines, dried fruits such as cranberries, mandarin oranges, raspberries, strawberries
- Cheese: blue
- Pecans and walnuts
- Cheese: blue, brie, feta, goat, gorgonzola
- Fruit: apples, blueberries, dried fruits such as cranberries, figs, peaches, pears, pomegranates, strawberries
- Other: beets, honey
- Cheese: goat, blue, gorgonzola, parmesan
- Fruit: apples, blueberries, clementines, dried fruits such as cranberries, pears, pomegranates, raspberries, strawberries
- Other: beets
- Toasted pine nuts
- Cheese: feta, goat, parmesan
- Fruit: dried fruits such as cranberries and apricots, figs, watermelon
- Other: kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes
Where to find your nuts, nut butters and seeds
- Check local farmers’ markets and orchards for homemade nut butters.
- Whether local or store-bought, organic or not, always check the ingredients!
FULLfood facts and fun
- Some markets and grocery stores have a machine that will grind nuts into nut butter with the push of a button, right before your eyes! Check it out; it’s not only fun for you to watch but can be a neat way to include and show children where their nut butter comes from!
- Nuts, nut butters and seeds make an amazing snack! Just limit it to no more than 1 to 2 ounces daily.
- Tahini is essential when making hummus.
- Check your ingredients! Even though it’s labeled as “natural,” you still need to check ingredients. You may be surprised that some of these “natural” items are highly processed and have a bunch of added ingredients.
- If you're a nut butter fan, check out our Spoiler Alert: The Dirty Truth About Nut Butter, where we further break down the bad with the good!
Substitutions that are considered FULLfoods
- Top your dishes with chopped nuts or seeds rather than panko or bread crumbs.
- Some great dishes we top with nuts and seeds are stir fries, soups and when garnishing casseroles.
- Salads: Add nuts or seeds to top your salads rather than using croutons.
- When using nuts or seeds as a topping in unbaked dishes, try roasting them in a pan first. Roasting them only takes a minute or two and you don’t need any added oils, just the nuts or seeds! Use low heat and keep the nuts or seeds constantly moving in a nonstick pan so they don’t burn. We keep them moving with a spatula or spoon. Roast them to your liking and, voilà, you have an awesome, tasty topping! Be sure to make a double batch for meals throughout the week!
- Rather than purchasing candied nuts loaded with sugar, try making these deliciously sweet Cinnamon Maple Candied Nuts.
- If you’re allergic to nuts, try incorporating more seeds into your diet.
Tips and preparation
- Put small-sized amounts of nuts or seeds in containers or baggies to grab on the go for a healthy snack!
- Add different seeds to smoothies, yogurt, oatmeal, baked goods and salads.
- Add a tablespoon of nut butter to your smoothie to help you stay fuller longer.
- Rather than buying pre-made granola, trail mix or muesli, make your own! Make a large batch and keep it in your fridge for freshness. It’s typically much cheaper AND healthier. Check out our array of healthy homemade recipes!
- Keep your seeds, especially ground seeds, in your fridge in an airtight container for freshness.
- Seeds with hard exterior shells such as flaxseeds should be ground in a blender or a coffee grinder (or purchased ground/milled) before eating them. This aids in digestion and the absorption of all the valuable nutritional benefits. Otherwise, they just go in and right back out!
- Chia seeds have countless health benefits and help you feel fuller longer. Unlike flaxseeds, they can be eaten whole. We eat them daily and add them to anything from eggs, yogurt and smoothies to salads and avocado toast.
Tips when eating out
- When eating out, avoid eating foods with nut butters due to the likelihood of them being highly processed and having added ingredients.
- Take inventory of your pantry and eliminate nut butter spreads or nut butters with added oils or sugars. Replace them with 100% natural nut butter containing only the nut and limited salt. If you haven’t tried any nut butters other than peanut butter, consider purchasing a nut butter blend (such as Nuttzo Organic Nut Butter) or a nut butter made with cashews, almonds, sunflower seeds, pecans or walnuts.
- Take inventory of your pantry and eliminate any nuts with added oils or ingredients other than limited amounts of salt.
- Start eating your favorite nuts and seeds as a healthy snack. Remember to limit your intake to 1 to 2 tablespoons daily.
- Roast your favorite seeds or nuts and add them to plain yogurt, oatmeal or a salad and enjoy the texture and flavor they offer.
- Make a side salad this week and top it with one of the cheese, nut and fruit combos listed above.
Remember, when it comes to FULLfoods, always check the ingredients on the label!