3 Healthy Nut-Based Products You Can Make At Home
by Elizabeth Vennefron, RDN, LD
Last Updated: October 9, 2020
Nuts are enjoyed all around the world and are consumed more now than ever before. So, what is it about nuts that has the whole world filling up their carts in-store and even online? Is it their crunch, the satisfying aroma after roasting them, or the heart-healthy benefits that makes them an easy grab? Let’s discuss the different types of nuts and how to incorporate them into your diet.
Believe it or not, some nuts are actually considered fruits because of where they originate. The nuts that we eat such as almonds, cashews, Brazil nuts, walnuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, pistachios, and pine nuts come from drupes. Drupes are fleshy fruit with thin skin and a central stone – the nut. Examples include plums, cherries, peaches, and mangos. Nuts that don’t come from fruit include chestnuts, acorns, and hazelnuts. These specific nuts have a hard outer shell. In a category all their own, peanuts are enclosed in pods, which makes them a legume. However, their nutrient profile is closer to that of a nut.
Nuts are packed full of nutrients such as fiber, healthy fats, protein, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Nuts are naturally low in carbohydrates, making them a favorite for those looking to lose weight but still feel full. Fiber also helps you feel fuller long after a meal and can help stabilize blood sugar, lower cholesterol levels, and aid in digestion. Healthy fats are responsible for lowering cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and keeping you more satisfied after your meal. Nuts are an excellent source of plant-based protein, making them a perfect snack for those looking to reduce their consumption of animal-based proteins.
With more individuals transitioning to plant-based diets, more nut-based products are popping up on grocery shelves. Some popular nut-based products include butter, milk, and flour.
- Nut butters
Almond, peanut, or cashew butter are great alternatives for regular butter. Nut butters are made by grinding up your favorite nut, or a combination of nuts, into a creamy consistency. Roast the nuts before grinding for a more flavorful and smoother texture. For an even silkier spread, try skinless nuts by rubbing the just-roasted nuts in a hand towel. Once blended, different oils and seasonings can be added such as vanilla, cocoa powder, and honey for extra flavor. Try out this simple Tropical Cashew Nut Butter recipe at home and spread on toast or mix into oatmeal.
- Nut milks
Almond, cashew, and coconut milk are perfect substitutions for those who cannot have or choose to avoid cow’s milk. Nut milk is made by first soaking raw nuts overnight for a creamy texture. Post soaking, drain and rinse the nuts. In a blender or food processor, blend the nuts with water. Once blended, strain using a cheesecloth into a cup and enjoy. You can use what’s left in the cheesecloth too. Try adding it to smoothies, oatmeal, or even batter. You can also liven up your morning coffee with this creamy Homemade Almond Milk.
- Nut flour
Almond, pecan, hazelnut, and walnut flour are an excellent substitution to use in gluten-free baking. Nut flour is probably the easiest to make. Simply add whichever nut preferred to a grinder or blender, and pulse until they look like breadcrumbs. Be careful not to blend too long, it could turn into nut butter. Once mixed, add ground nuts to a sifter, and sift them to create a finer texture. Try using nut flour in various recipes such as pancakes, waffles, or any other baked goods. Try these sweet Coconut Flour Pancakes or savory Chicken Pot Pie.
As you can see, nuts are versatile and can be consumed in many ways. They are widely available and come in many different options such as raw, roasted, salted, unsalted, plain, or seasoned. Nuts are the perfect on-the-go snack because they are shelf-stable. So, whether you’re getting ready for a long road trip or simply looking for something tasty to snack on, grab some nuts! Nuts are a powerhouse of nutrition and a healthy addition to any diet.
Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.
This content was originally published here.