Diet Tips and Low-Cal Meals: New Reasons to Love Nuts

Back in the day when the low-fat craze reigned, pretzels were my go-to snack. Every day around 3 p.m., I'd hit the office vending machine for my carb fix. Problem was, an hour later I'd be hungry again-and rummaging through my desk drawer looking for something else to eat. But now I know that low-fat alone doesn't make for a healthy snack. I feel far more satisfied when I eat something with protein and fiber, like nuts. Nuts are also chock-full of vitamins, minerals and heart-healthy unsaturated fats. (If you need one more reason to love them, well, they're one of EatingWell's 7 super foods that help keep you young!) So these days, when my stomach starts grumbling mid-afternoon, I often have an ounce of almonds or pistachios.

And, honestly, I can pretty much work nuts into every meal. For breakfast, I like to stir walnuts into EatingWell's Overnight Oatmeal (made with healthy, fiber-rich steel-cut oats, in my trusty slow cooker) or crumble them on top of vanilla yogurt. If I'm craving a nutrient-packed lunch or dinner, I'll whip up a Loaded Spinach Salad, which includes several of my favorite foods: beets, carrots and sweet, crunchy pecans. Weighing in at just 300 calories per serving-and that includes 2 tablespoons of Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing-it's a real calorie bargain, particularly considering that it provides 240% of your daily dose of vitamin A and plenty of folate (35% DV) and vitamin C (30% DV) to boot. So go on-get a little nutty yourself!

By Nicci Micco, Senior Editor, Features & Nutrition, EatingWell

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