Nuts for Nuts

Ever wonder what is so great about nuts? As part of a heart healthy diet, some nuts low in saturated fat have been linked to reducing the risk of heart disease. Tree nuts, such as almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, some pine-nuts, pistachios, and walnuts all provide a healthy dose of mono- and polyunsaturated fats, and clock in under 4 grams of saturated fat per 50 gram serving.  These nuts are plant-based proteins that contain fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

The USDA approves the ‘health claim’ that eating 1.5 ounces/day of these nuts as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce heart disease risk.  
So are some nuts better than others, nutritionally speaking? Each nut is a bit different, so lumping them into a single category isn’t exactly fair. Nuts provide anywhere from 160 – 200 calories per ounce, which indicates a different ratio of fat in the varieties. The important thing to remember is portion size. 1 ounce of macadamias is only 10-12 nuts, whereas 1 ounce of almonds is about 25 nuts.
Learn the facts and how to easily incorporate them in your diet.
Nutrition Boon
Common Eats
157 calories
Copper, Magnesium
Soft crunch, sweet
Raw or roasted as snack, nut butter
14 halves
185 calories
Omega 3 Fatty acids (ALA), antioxidants
Mild, buttery, meaty texture
Salad topping, oil used in dressings
19 halves
196 calories
Mono-unsaturated fat, antioxidants
Sweet, mellow, meaty texture
Seasoned snack, protein coating, or in desserts
Brazil Nuts
185 calories
selenium 100%DV, poly- & monounsat. fats
Creamy texture, slightly crunchy
Raw or roasted snack, confections
204 calories
Higher fat- mostly monounsaturated, manganese
Smooth, buttery, rich flavor
Raw or roasted, cookies or chocolate coating
170 calories
Vit E, folate, calcium, magnesium
Crunchy, strong flavor
Nut butter, savory and sweet dishes, raw snack
160 calories
Antioxidants, low in fat
Sweet, slightly bitter, mild
Beautiful color for salads, grain dishes or protein coating, baklava
Pine Nuts
191 calories
Vitamin E, phosphorus,
Light, delicate, soft bite
Pesto, pastas, breads, sautes, salads
178 calories
Mono-unsat fat, Vitamin E, copper, manganese
Mild, crunchy
Pairs well with citrus, sweet, chocolate

Content inspiration and resource: Food & Nutrition Academy Magazine Jan/Feb 2013(R.Begun)

Pecans in Oklahoma

The pecan crop in Oklahoma this year was amazing!  Despite the drought, 2013’s crop is expected to be the largest in four or five years.  Oklahoma is the fourth leading producer in total pecan production in the nation, and second only to Texas in native pecan production.  The price will be down a bit from last year, but they may be smaller in size.  The Oklahoma Pecan Growers Association has a list on their website of locations where you can find local pecans in your part of the state.

Nuts, including pecans, are recommended by the American Heart Association and the U. S. Dietary Guidelines as a desirable source of heart-healthy unsaturated fats.  90% of the fats in pecans are unsaturated.  A ¼ cup serving has about 170 calories.  Pecans can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 9 months or frozen for up to two years.
I grew up in Tulsa with a large pecan tree in my backyard.  My family spent many winter evenings cracking and shelling pecans while watching our black and white TV.  My Mom used them in many recipes and I’m sharing one of those tasty dishes with you today.  If you are diabetic, this recipe is for you because it has no added sugar!  Enjoy! barbc
Spiced Pecans
4 ½ cups pecan halves/pieces
1 Tbsp. Worchestershire Sauce
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. butter/margarine
¼ tsp. hot sauce or Tabasco
¼ tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. Mrs. Dash
1) Preheat oven to 300 degrees
2) Mix all ingredients, except pecans in a small dish
3) In a 7 x 9 or 8” round cake pan, melt 1 Tbsp. margarine/butter in preheated oven about 2 minutes.
4) In gallon zip top plastic bag, add pecans and spices. Mix well to coat pecans.
5) Pour pecans into pan.  Bake at 300 for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. 
6) Spread out on paper towels to cool.  Store in airtight container.