How to eat more nuts and seeds with the Mediterranean diet
This is day 4 of Wales Mediterranean Diet Week. start at The beginning is here.
It’s time to add more crunchy foods to your diet, so let’s talk nuts and seeds.
These nutritional powerhouses are rich in essential vitamins and minerals, as well as gut-healthy protein and fiber. For example, a handful of almonds provides about six grams of protein and three grams of fiber, which is the same amount you’d get from eating an egg and three-quarters of a cup of blueberries.
Nuts and seeds are also great sources of heart-healthy fats, which have been linked to improved cholesterol levels and protection against cardiovascular disease.
For example, a recent review of more than thirty studies found that people who ate a little more than a handful (or about one ounce) of nuts and seeds daily had about a 20 percent lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease than those who ate a little more About a handful (or about one ounce) of nuts and seeds daily. Eat little to nothing.
The Mediterranean diet traditionally includes a generous amount of nuts and seeds. Guidelines vary from three servings per week to one or two servings per day.
Whatever your goal, it’s easy to achieve — whether you’re tossing apple slices in almond butter, sprinkling walnuts on your oatmeal or yogurt, or sprinkling sunflower seeds over your salad. Just keep in mind that nuts and seeds are relatively high in calories; One ounce of almonds contains 170 calories and two tablespoons of peanut butter contains 204 calories. It can add up quickly.
What to keep in your pantry
Aim to have at least a few different types of nuts and seeds on hand to eat and use in recipes:
Raw or roasted nuts such as almonds, walnuts, pecans, and cashews; As well as peanuts (peanuts are technically a legume, but their nutritional properties are similar to tree nuts).
Seeds such as flax, chia, sesame, and pumpkin; and pine nuts (which are not nuts, despite their name)
Peanut butter and other nut butters
How to incorporate nuts and seeds into meals
Each day in our Mediterranean Diet series, we and our colleagues at NYT Cooking have selected a few recipes that include the ingredients we’re highlighting. This is not intended to be a one-day meal plan, but rather inspiration for how to include more of these healthy foods into your week.
For breakfast, you can add a tablespoon of chia seeds or flax seeds to your smoothie, or spread almond butter on a whole-grain English muffin. With a little planning, Genevieve Ko Overnight Oats are the perfect go-to for any nuts or seeds your heart desires.
For lunch, I prefer a peanut butter and banana sandwich on whole grain bread and carrot and celery sticks. But if I have a few minutes, I’ll make Su Lee’s Cucumber Salad with Roasted Peanuts and Chili Peppers. The “velvety peanut sauce” and crunchy peanut topping complement the “tart” cucumbers used in this recipe. Or I’ll try Melissa Clark’s Lemon Asparagus Salad with shredded cheese and nuts.
For dinner, a sprinkling of nuts or seeds will make any cooked vegetable more interesting, as in Swiss chard from Martha Rose Shulman with currants and pine nuts or roasted cauliflower with feta, almonds, and olives from Colo Henry.
For a main course, look no further than Jocelyn Ramirez’s mole verde, an “earthy sauce” that mixes generous amounts of sesame seeds, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), and almonds with roasted chiles, fresh tomatoes, romaine lettuce, and herbs. Serve with sautéed mushrooms and a protein of your choice, such as tofu steak or salmon.
For a light dessert (or tomorrow’s breakfast), try chia seed pudding topped with almonds. It’s a nutrient-dense treat with a “tapioca-like texture and pleasant sweet flavor.”