11/23/2012 05:15 EST | Updated 01/20/2013 05:12 EST

How to Cook Using Nuts


There is no question that when it comes to nuts we are (pun intended) nuts for them. Nuts provide lots of powerful health benefits and are easy to pack as a quick snack on the move. And no, we aren't talking about the salted, roasted, candied, spiced or chocolate covered nuts. We want to get you excited about delicious, natural and maybe even dry roasted nuts that are unsalted and DELICIOUS!

Here are just a few reason to start noshing on nuts every day:

  • nuts are the best plant based source of protein

  • high in dietary fiber

  • contain antioxidants

  • high in plant sterols

  • high in the good fats a.ka. monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat which have been shown to help lower LDL cholesterol

  • they're delicious!

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Ways to Use Nuts in Your Dishes

What's important to remember is that nuts are packed with nutrients but that doesn't mean that eating a mountain of them is going to help you get fit and stay in shape. Nuts are one of the essential foods to learn to eat in moderation. Moderation -- that tricky word that sometimes just doesn't listen when your tummy is rumbling. If you are new to eating nuts on a daily basis try one of these easy tactics:

1. Replace other fats with nuts. For example replace deli meat with nut butters in your next sandwich or replace half the chocolate chips in your favourite recipe with nuts.

2. Add a spoonful of nut butter instead of protein powder to your next shake.

3. Swap cheese or nuts on your salad for a healthier dose of protein and fat

So what does that perfect portion of nuts look like? Easy!

Remember that this is an ounce -- not a fluid ounce -- so don't break out your shot glass and start measuring this.

I recommend portioning nuts in snack-size Ziploc bags and keeping a few in your purse, car or desk. Now, when you start to get the first pangs of hunger enjoy a portion-controlled bag of nuts instead of that scone you were eyeing at Starbucks.