There is so much information and research about how a low-carbohydrate / healthy-fat diet can help with a range of health concerns, from improving blood sugar management in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes through to fighting out obesity epidemic, even reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Without needing to turn to a full Keto or Paleo LCHF diet, you can still increase your consumption of healthy fats, and gain all the benefits this provides, by simply replacing your afternoon or morning snack with a serving of nuts rather than a cake or muffin.
Eating More Nuts
Nuts of all varieties received a bad reputation a generation ago as the ‘anti-fat’ dietary movement hit full swing; however, nutritionists, dietitians and medical researchers have since realized the benefits of consuming nuts in your diet each day.
Yet, because it is an absolute fact that nuts do contain high amounts of digestible fat, no matter how healthy they are they shouldn’t form a main component of your diet. So, in order in get the full benefits of eating nuts, treat them as a great snack food. This is a particularly great option for people who regularly eat morning and/or afternoon tea, as it is very easy to add nuts as a light snack to these meals.
There are a range of options from a spoon and a jar of nut butter, a handful or raw nuts or a product like Julies Real nut butter packets. The biggest problem with just eating a handful of nuts is that most people tend to buy enough to last a week and leave them in their desk draw… and then find they have to by more by Wednesday. Nuts are very addictive and moreish, and it is easy to just absentmindedly keep popping them in your mouth – which will unfortunately undo any good work you are doing in trying to reduce your portion control or develop healthy eating habits.
If you look towards single serve nut butter packets instead, they are easier to buy as a box that can live in your desk draw, and then just pull one out at break time. Combine them with a piece of fruit, cracker or raw vegetable slices to create a more hearty snack, that is filling but satisfies as the same time.
Which Nuts Are Best?
A lot of the decision about which nuts or nut butter you should eat actually comes down to flavor more than anything else. All nuts contain a healthy amount of Omega-3 fatty acids, unsaturated fats and vitamin E, amongst other goodness. The mayo clinic has an easy chart that breaks down nut varieties by total fat and calories found in each nut type: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/nuts/art-20046635.
There is more to nuts that just fat and calories of course, with Walnuts being relatively high in both unsaturated fats and calories, whether this is a good thing or not is up to your dietary requirements, but they are also one of the highest sources of Omega-3.
Although you can find a range of nut butters that have added flavors which make for really interesting snacks, if you are swapping your morning bran muffin for a few chocolate-coated scorched almonds you are unlikely to actually making many positive effects on your health. If you find that around 3pm you really need a sweet boost, try a nut butter with added vanilla bean, maybe on a slice of green apple or banana to help you with your energy levels and calm your sweet tooth.
What About Coconut Oil?
You’ve probably heard a range of opinions about coconut oil, from it is the savior of humankind right through to it will be the death of us all, and everything in between. While the strongly for and the stalwartly against fight it out, the truth is somewhere in between. You shouldn’t live on a diet of coconut oil alone, or even in large quantities, as it is predominantly saturated fats, but including it as part of your snack diet whether used in place of palm oil in a nut butter or used instead of dairy butter in a bliss ball, coconut oil has excellent qualities.