A: If you are looking for a delicious, nutritious and convenient snack to survive business travel or vacation, walnuts are the perfect choice.
Walnuts have a unique fat profile when compared to other nuts. Walnuts are mostly comprised of heart-healthy polyunsaturated fats, including the essential alpha-linolenic omega-3 fatty acid. Just an ounce of walnuts provides 2.5 grams of alpha-linolenic acids, meeting the daily recommendation. This high-fat, high-energy food is also a good source of protein, potassium, phosphorus and magnesium.
A Harvard Public School study published in the 2009 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that heart-healthy diets supplemented with walnuts may help improve cardiovascular risk factors, specifically lowering total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol. Including walnuts in the diet may also decrease inflammation and oxidative stress due to the high antioxidant content.
Controlling appetite is key to weight management. Walnuts are the perfect choice for curbing appetite since they are an excellent source of heart-healthy fat and a good source of fiber and protein. Try counting out 14 walnut halves (1/4 cup) and place them in snack-size bags to keep portion sizes in check. Researchers noted in many studies that participants did not gain weight when walnuts were substituted for other fats in reduced-calorie diets.
Use and Storage
1.) Mix dried fruit and walnuts together for a simple snack. 2.) Toss chopped walnuts in a salad with blueberries, strawberries, feta cheese and light vinaigrette. 3.) Sprinkle walnut halves on oatmeal. 4.) Make a yogurt parfait with chopped walnuts and fresh berries. 5.) Coat fish or poultry with chopped walnuts and herbs. 6.) Include walnuts in side dishes such as brown rice, quinoa, pasta or couscous.
For optimal flavor and freshness, store walnuts in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If storing them longer than one month, place in an airtight container in the freezer.
Information provided by Anne Hytrek, MSed, RD, LD, CDE, Prairie Trail Hy-Vee, 2510 S.W. State St., 515-963-3139.