Five reasons to go nuts this winter

Once a slimmers foe, nuts are back on the weight-loss menu

Food
Good fats, fibre and protein make nuts a great food for weight control.

Good fats, fibre and protein make nuts a great food for weight control.

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Snacking on a handful of nuts a day could help you avoid the unwanted kilo creep this winter

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SNACKING on nutrient-rich nuts is a great and easy way to combat unhealthy eating habits that often arise as the weather turns cold.

"During the cold weather, your metabolism revs up to warm your body, making you hungrier," said Nuts for Life Dietitian Belinda Neville.

"This can leave you craving foods like creamy pastas, pies and other heavy meals, but comfort eating doesn't need to weigh you down.

"Choosing healthier foods that have a combination of good fats, protein and fibre, like nuts, can curb cravings and help keep you feeling fuller for longer - so you are less likely to over eat at your next meal.

"As well as helping to manage your weight, a handful of nuts a day provides important nutrients for immunity, heart health and can even lower the GI of carb rich meals."

Here are Belinda's top five reasons to go nuts this winter:

1. Boost Satiety - Nuts are a rich source of healthy unsaturated fats - the 'good' type of fat that helps to switch on satiety hormones in your gut, helping to reduce hunger pangs. Nuts have also been shown to help manage body weight with their combination of protein, fibre and fat, keeping you feeling fuller for longer and thereby helping to control our overall daily food intake.

2. Burn More Calories - Yes, nuts are high in healthy fats, but that doesn't mean that they will make you fat! Studies show that regularly eating a 30g handful of nuts can actually help to boost your metabolic rate by 5-10 per cent increasing the amount of calories burned. Also, because we don't actually absorb all of the fat found in nuts, there's no reason to pass them up!

3. Lower the GI of High Carb Meals - Nuts have a glycemic index-lowering effect. When they are mixed with carbohydrate foods in a meal - like adding pine nuts to your pasta - they help to slow the digestion and release of glucose into your bloodstream, which helps to satisfy your appetite for longer.

4. Support Immunity - Most tree nuts contain a host of important vitamins and minerals. Cashews are particularly high in zinc, a powerful nutrient required for strong immune function, while Brazil nuts are high in selenium, an important trace mineral that also helps support immunity. In fact, just two Brazil nuts provide your recommended daily intake of selenium.

5. Protect Your Heart - Studies show that eating a 30g handful of nuts a day can help to lower your risk of heart diseases. The combination of antioxidants, healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, and fibre can contribute to better heart health. Macadamias are the top nut source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and a tasty way to give your heart some love.

Nuts for Life is Australia's leading nutrition authority on tree nuts and health. The nutrition education initiative educates about the health benefits of regular nut consumption in the Australian diet. It is funded by the Australian Tree Nut Industry and Hort Innovation.

Recipe: Pecan, Broccolini & Salmon Grain Bowl

Preparation time: 10 mins

Cooking time: 10 mins

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

2 x 100g skinless salmon fillets

1 tsp olive oil

1/2 cup pecans, lightly toasted (60g)

1 bunch broccolini

4 radishes, sliced

1 orange, peeled and sliced

1 cup cooked brown rice

1 spring onion, sliced

Dressing

2 Tbsp almond butter

2 tsp tamari or soy sauce

1 tsp miso paste

1 tsp maple syrup

2 Tbsp lime juice

Method

1.Whisk together almond butter, soy sauce, miso paste, and syrup. Whisk in lime juice until smooth. Dressing will thicken as it sits, thin with water if desired.

2.Preheat a skillet over medium heat. Drizzle salmon with oil and cook approximately 3 minutes per side, or until cooked to your liking. Remove salmon from pan and set aside torest. Roughly flake when cool enough to handle.

3.Wipe skilllet, fill about half way with water and return to heat. Add broccolini and simmer for a few minutes, until bright green and tender-crisp. Refresh under cold water.

4.Roughly chop half the pecans and stir through rice, divide into two bowls.

Top rice with salmon, broccolini, orange, radish, and remaining pecans. Drizzle with dressing, sprinkle with sliced spring onion.

Recipe and images by Jennifer Jenner for Nuts for Life

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