Nuts like macadamias are nutrition powerhouses full of protein, fibre and healthy fats as well as vitamins and minerals that are essential for good health. The evidence is mounting that a handful of nuts per day can benefit everything from your waist circumference to your mental health.
As a general rule, nutritionists recommend one 30g serving of nuts every day for good health. Sounds easy, right? Well, in Australia most of us are only eating 6 grams of nuts a day – not enough for good health!
So we asked four busy people to tell us the creative ways they make sure they get a healthy handful or two of nuts (including everyone’s favourite: macadamias) into their day.
Caro Ryan, Lots of Fresh Air
“One of the most important things to take when packing for a bushwalk or outdoor adventure is good food. It’s essential to keep the energy levels high and ensure that our bodies can do what we ask of them, especially after a few hours on the trail when we can start to get tired.
“Nuts like macadamias are nature’s little energy balls! They are the go-to, easy-to-grab snack that’s always in my pack. Because of their size, a couple of handfuls fit easily into the hip pockets on my pack, so I always have them handy. I love them on their own or mixed with dried fruit and dark chocolate bits to create every Aussie hikers favourite snack: Scroggin (aka trail mix).
“If I’m feeling creative, I love experimenting with different nuts and seeds (about 3 cups of whatever’s in the cupboard) by lightly blitzing them in a blender and stirring through about 1/2 cup of rice malt syrup. I press this mix firmly into a slice tin and bake at 180C until golden. Let them cool down before cutting into bite- or muesli bar-sized chunks. Delish!”
The Personal Trainer
Michelle Ross, MishFitSyd Girls Group Training
“I’m always reminding my clients to grab a small handful of nuts as a snack rather than going for something high in sugar – which is what most of us tend to want to do, especially in the afternoon when we’re getting tired. The good fats in nuts will keep you full rather than spike your sugar levels which ends up leaving you wanting more sugar.
I love adding macadamias to my yoghurt or oats to give a little crunch. They are a great snack for when I’m on the run as they are easy to take with you anywhere.
I also love eating nuts with dried fruit (especially dates) to give me a boost to get me through the afternoon with my two year old son & new baby girl! They are full of good fats and extremely beneficial for your health. Definitely a great snack to keep you going between your main meals.”
Belinda Neville, Nuts for Life Dietitian
“Nuts are one of the most versatile foods around – they can be enjoyed alone as an easy snack or can be incorporated into both sweet and savoury dishes. Here’s some of the ways I like to eat nuts:
- Fruit and nut mix – I love to make my own fruit and nut mix for an after-dinner snack. I simply mix some nuts with dried fruit like raisins and figs, and will occasionally add two squares of dark chocolate as well. This makes a perfect taste combination as well as it helping to switch on satiety hormones which help you to feel fuller longer.
- Add them to salads and stir-fries – not only do they taste good, but they also add great texture and crunch to the dish. I also love to add them to a bowl of fresh or tinned fruit and yoghurt for a quick and easy dessert or breakfast.
- Soups – nuts are great for both thickening soups and for adding a creamy texture. I add them early on in the cooking so they have time to soften slightly, and then blitz them in the blender with all the other ingredients to make a thick and creamy soup.
- Nut butter – I love all nut butters, but my favourite is definitely macadamia butter. Not just to spread on toast, but used as a dip with veggie sticks and fresh fruit.”
Casey-Lee Lyon, Live Love Nourish
“As a nutritionist and a mum with two young kids, I love to include macadamias in my kids’ diets because they offer great nutrition for growing bodies. For breakfast, we love adding macadamias in our homemade granola, yoghurt and fruit or smoothies for extra good fats. For dinner, we also use macadamias to make a dairy-free macadamia cheese for a delicious and healthy macaroni and “cheese” dinner.
Of course, we also love adding macadamias to our baking and sweet treats such as cookies, cakes, muffins and muesli bars. They also make a delicious addition to apple crumble topping.
We have a few favourite snacks including thin slices of apple spread with macadamia nut butter or homemade trail mix with macadamia pieces.
We also make a quick and easy sweet treat for kids called instant banana ‘nice cream’. We simply whip up frozen banana with a splash of milk in a blender and add macadamias to make a thick and creamy ice-cream-textured treat. For younger kids, we add macadamia butter instead of the whole nuts – and we make that ourselves by blending raw macadamias in a high speed blender or food processor.”
What are your favourite ways to incorporate nuts into your day? Why not share your tips and tricks on our Facebook page?