Nuts provide many benefits including helping to reduce pain, they provide essential nutrients, they reduce inflammation, decrease oxidative stress, and support weight loss. Sometimes nuts get a bad rap as a potential source of weight gain. Yes, they have a high energy density and for a small portion, they are relatively speaking, loaded with calories. But recognizing their benefits, along with watching portion size, is key when adding them to your diet. Almonds specifically have been found to improve the quality of a person’s diet while not contributing to weight gain, as we shared in last week’s post. Today we are sharing eight recipes that can help incorporate almonds (and other nuts) into your diet.
Almond Crusted Chicken
This recipe is a great dinner option. The chicken provides plenty of protein, while the almond coating layers in additional essential nutrients. Did we mention it’s easy to prepare, too? If you’ve ever made breaded chicken, this is essentially the same thing, but with a healthier coating. The author of this recipe shares that one of the key reminders is to maintain some almond chunks- too finely ground down and the recipe doesn’t turn out as well. Add some garlic, paprika, and salt, and the recipe is nearly complete!
Dark Chocolate Covered Almond Clusters with Sea Salt
This recipe is incredibly easy to make. You can make a bunch and freeze them for when those sweet cravings hit. Use unsweetened chocolate that has a high percentage of cacao, like this one. Add just a bit of raw cane sugar to the melted chocolate for sweetness- it is unrefined and if used sparingly, can add just a bit of sweetness without any of the downfalls of sugar substitutes or refined sugar.
While dark chocolate does have its benefits- like having flavanols which are antioxidants and can help reduce inflammation and cholesterol. It also has less sugar and more fiber than milk chocolate, making it a better alternative than its sweeter counterparts. But, the cocoa solids do contain heavy metals. Recently, it came to light that that many popular brands had elevated levels of lead and cadmium, so choose carefully; you can read Consumer Report’s report on safe choices here.
Roasted Chickpea Arugula Salad
Arugula. Almonds. Chickpeas. Parmesan. This is what food dreams are made of! The most difficult (and yet still super simple!) part of this salad is roasting the chickpeas. But it’s worth the effort, as the legume can support your bone health, help improve your digestion, benefits your heart health, and more. You can swap out any other nut in place of the almonds, but they pair beautifully with the parmesan and arugula. With a bit of citrus and honey in the dressing, this comes together beautifully and will be a recipe you make time and time again.
This recipe contains almonds and pistachios, eggs, dried cranberries, and almond flour. A great alternative to sugar and calorie-filled doughnuts or other sweet pastries, these biscotti are full of protein, antioxidants, fiber, and the pistachios can even help lower the risk of colon cancer. You can mix up the recipe and add other dried fruits or different nuts until you find your favorite.
Chia Flaxseed Cookies
This recipe contains chia and flax seeds, which are loaded with antioxidants, protein, and fiber. Instead of other types of nut butters, this recipe calls for almond butter, which is a source of monounsaturated fat. It also has higher levels of vitamin E than other nut butters, boosting the nutrient load of these tasty cookies. You can add in finely chopped almonds to the oats (which are an excellent food to help manage your blood sugar levels) for the outer coating.
Almond Butter Chia Pudding
Sometimes half the battle in eating healthy and making nutritious choices is in having quality, delicious food available to you. If you prepare ahead of time for when those hunger pangs or cravings hit, you’re bound to make smart food choices. Overnight oats, chia puddings, and other similar varieties are one way to have tasty, but nutritious, options available. You can make them any number of ways to fit your flavor preferences. You can add different fruits, nuts, seeds (like the Chia seeds in this recipe), and even sprinkle in a few dark chocolate chips. Reach for this next time you’re hungry and you’ll feel satisfied and would have provided your body a boost of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and more!
Healthy Chicken Salad
This is a great option to make ahead and use for lunch over several days. Instead of mayonnaise, non-fat plain Greek yogurt is used. This cuts out saturated fat and incorporates protein and the healthy bacteria in the yogurt. Pecans, walnuts, or almonds can be used- and the recipe suggests taking a couple of minutes to toast them on the stove top for an added crunchy element. Since this includes chicken, the Greek yogurt, and nuts, it is a healthy serving of protein which is sure to keep you feeling full for longer through the day.
Chicken Pad Thai
Shared by the Ohio Poultry Association, this recipe has a wide variety of healthy elements. Bean sprouts, ginger, peanuts, eggs, and plenty of veggies provide nutrients, antioxidants, fiber, and flavor. When choosing the peanut butter for the sauce, choose a low-sodium option. If you prepare this for dinner, make extra as it keeps well and can be enjoyed for lunch over the next couple of days.