Go nuts and follow the new dietary guidelines

Just a handful (1 1/2 ounces) or 1/3 cup of tree nuts four to five times a week can help us to follow the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Tree nuts such as almonds, Brazils, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pinenuts, pistachios and walnuts play an important role in healthy eating.

Nuts are little nuggets of complete nutrition. They are excellent sources of protein, carbohydrates, fat, fiber, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium and potassium. Also, nuts contain a variety of phytochemicals which may help protect against heart disease, cancer and other chronic diseases.

Although high in fat, unlike butter or margarine, nuts contain the type of fats that promote heart health and immuni8ty, including omega-3 fatty acids and mono unsaturated fat. One ounce of nuts contains an average of approximately 190 calories and ranges from 13 grams of fat (cashews) to 22 grams of fat (macadamia).

The best way to eating nuts is to include them in your daily menu. Because they are high in fat, they are also high in calories. Moderation and portion control are the key words for healthy eating of nuts. The best choices are whole or chopped nuts, dry roasted, raw or blanched. Unshelled nuts are a good diet strategy. it pays off if we have to eat less. When nuts are shelled, it’s easy to overeat. If shelled nuts are preferred then measure 1/3 cup and put them into a baggie. Chew slowly, savoring the taste. Wait at least 15 minutes to let your stomach catch up to your brain.

Nuts add crunch and nutrition to casseroles, salads, pasta and rice dishes, morning cereal (hot or cold) and hot vegetables.To make a dessert add slivered almonds and diced walnuts to non-fat frozen yogurt or sprinkle on fresh fruit cups. A tasty trail mix could include an ounce of nuts to an ounce of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and raisins. Portion into baggies to control your intake.