Going nuts for nuts: Which is the best choice


Nuts are a nutritious snack to help us make it to the next meal. A handful is meant to do the trick, but reaching for more is a common occurrence. Depending on the type, these crunchy nibbles are filled with hearty healthy ingredients and even omega-3 fatty acids. They also have fiber, vitamins, minerals, and protein. Problem is that this good becomes bad when the calories and fat start to add up because one serving was far surpassed. Then our body goes nuts, stores the excess, and what was meant to happen just this once, happened on the next bag we bought at the store too. All nuts are not created equal so next time you reach for a handful and before you reach for more, consider the following information.  

Top 3 Healthiest & Waistline Friendly Types

  1. Almonds: One serving is a small handful which is about 28 grams. This amount contains 161 calories, 14 grams of fat, 6 grams of protein, and 6 grams of carbohydrates. One of the best traits almonds have is that in one serving you get 37% of the daily recommended dose of Vitamin E your body needs. This also includes 19% magnesium. These are a great low-calorie option for weight loss and have been shown to reduce cholesterol and blood pressure.
  2. Pistachios: One serving is a small handful or about 28 grams. This equates to 156 calories, 12.5 grams of fat, 6 grams of protein, 8 carbohydrates, and a high about of fiber coming in at 3 grams. They improve our good cholesterol and are a great source of fiber.
  3. Walnuts: One serving is a small handful or 28 grams. This adds up to 182 calories, 18 grams of fat, 4 grams of protein, and 4 grams of carbs. Their best trait is their high amount of omega-3 fatty acid. They can reduce cholesterol and help ward off heart disease.

Top 3 types to be careful of

  1. Macadamia nuts: One ounce which is about 10-12 nuts contains 200 calories, 2 grams of protein, and 21 grams of fat. This nut has a high amount of fat for a low amount of protein.
  2. Pecans: A mere 18 to 20 halves contains 200 calories, 3 grams of protein, and 20 grams of fat.
  3. Pine nuts: One serving about 28 grams has close to 190 calories, 4 grams of protein and 16 grams of fat. These aren’t a popular choice, but they do contain some of the vitamin K we need.

When it comes to nuts, buying in bulk might save a little in the wallet, leaving the waistline to suffer. Opt for 100-200 calorie pre-packaged snacks to keep moderation in-tact. Watch out for added salts and flavor. Watch out for those cooked in oils. Bags of mixed nuts can be dangerous as all the calories and fats add up. Know your weaknesses and cater to your strengths. A “handful” leaves a lot of gray area for a growling stomach and hungry mind to make decisions with. A little goes a long way without getting too nuts.





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Dr. Megan Johnson McCullough owns a fitness studio in Oceanside CA called Every BODY's Fit. She has a Doctorate in Health and Human Performance, M.A. in Physical Education & Health Science, and she's an NASM Master Trainer & Instructor. She's also a professional natural bodybuilder, fitness model, Wellness Coach, and AFAA Group Exercise Instructor. She has 6 books on Amazon too,.