Sunday, April 20, 2008

Nuts for Nutrition

Finally, an answer to what I just know you all have been thinking - just what is this blog all about anyways? ; ) When thinking about a starting a cooking blog, I really wanted to write one that not only had the nutritional information for good recipes, but also highlighted key elements that are good for the body.

Why "Nuts for Nutrition"? Well, the title has many meanings. 1) I am nuts for nutrition - as a dietetics student and avid good food eater, I am always advocating foods with high nutrient value. I thought it was about time that I share those good (and sometimes bad) recipes with others. 2) Nuts are excellent for nutrition! As I will outline below, nuts have numerous nutrients and are often undervalued in our diets. 3) My nickname is Nutmegs - so the Nut part only fit better! ; )

So how about them nuts? First of all, there are many, many different kinds of nuts. There are soy nuts and peanuts, almonds and cashews, walnuts, pine nuts, pistachios and chestnuts, Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, pecans and coconuts. I feel like Bubba Gump. ; ) I decided to highlight a few of the most used for your enjoyment - oh and of course a recipe - granola!!

Pecans: Good source of protein and Vitamin E, lots of unsaturated fats (60% mono, 30% poly - good to break down the LDL in blood), 1 ounce provides 10% of daily value (DV) of fiber.

Walnuts: Excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids (1/4 c. provides 90% of DV), very good source of manganese, contains an antioxidant called ellagic acid that supports the immune system and has anti-cancer properties

Almonds: Very good source of manganese and Vitamin E, high amount of monounsaturated fats, may help you lose weight

Side Note: What is manganese? Manganese is a cofactor for your enzymes that aids in disarming free radicals in a cell's cytoplasm. In other words, it helps prevent cancer.

I like to serve this granola with yogurt or milk poured over it. Yummy!

Nutty Granola (from The Food You Crave by Ellie Krieger)

Cooking Spray
3 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup chopped raw, unsalted walnuts
1/2 cup chopped unsalted almonds
1/2 cup chopped unsalted pecans
1/2 cup maple syrup (regular may work, but trust me, it tastes better with the real stuff)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins, optional (I like to do a combination of dried cranberries and raisins)

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl combine the oats, nuts, maple syrup, salt, cinnamon and the raisins, if using. Spread the mixture onto the baking sheet and bake until golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Transfer the sheet to a cooling rack and let cool completely. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

9 (1/2 cup) Servings

Nutritional Information
FAT 15g (Sat. 1.5g)
SODIUM 67 mg
FIBER 4.5g

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