Almonds: The Perfect Snack
Healthy Snacking with Almonds: Why We Recommend them
Those who are currently enrolled in our AgeLess Weight Management Program already know that we like to recommend almonds as a snack in the morning between breakfast and lunch. Sometimes we’re asked why, and the short answer is that it’s important to have some protein in the morning to help keep hunger at bay until lunchtime. At around 6 grams per ounce (approximately 28 nuts) almonds are not only a great source of protein, which helps you feel full, they are also a good source of healthy fats. While they are in fact high in fat, 14g on average, 9g of those fats are monounsaturated or, “good” fats. We need fat in our diet, and if we didn’t add it to the menu, it could cause cravings for fat that may be satisfied with other foods that perhaps aren’t so healthy. So an ounce of almonds in the morning serves a dual purpose for those doing our diet.
That was the short answer. Now let’s take a closer look at almonds as a healthy snack.
What About All The Calories in Almonds?
Some people question almonds as a snack, citing the calorie count in one ounce, which is an average of 170 cal. However, a study done in 2012 determined that when eaten whole, we may not absorb all of those calories. This is due to the tough cell structure of the almond’s cell membrane, which is where the fiber is, keeping the body from absorbing all the fats. Researchers found the body was unable to digest the almonds completely until they reached the lower digestive tract. However that is past the point where the remaining calories and fats could be absorbed. So instead of 170 calories as previously thought, studies showed we probably only absorb about 129 calories.
The combination of being high in fiber and protein make almonds a great snack for those who are trying to lose weight with some studies suggesting they promote good metabolism. However there’s one caveat, and that is because they taste so good they can be a problem for those who are prone to mindlessly snacking. Even too much of a good thing such as almonds can be a problem, so be sure to measure out an ounce and jot just keep reaching into the bag.
Almonds Have Even More Benefits…
Not only are almonds good for those looking to lose weight, but they’re also beneficial for those just looking to improve their overall health. In addition to being a great source of anti-oxidants, almonds are high in magnesium which is considered beneficial in preventing health problems like high blood pressure and Type 2 Diabetes.
Want even more specifics? How about the fact that the Vitamin E content in almonds can help your overall skin health? The Probiotic properties of almonds can aid in your digestion as well. For another amazing, fact-filled article about the benefits of almonds, check out the Dr.Axe website and specifically the article: The 9 Amazing Benefits of Almond Nutrition.
What Varieties Of Almonds Are Best For Healthy Snacking?
Occasionally someone will ask what kind of almonds they can have, or if they can have cocoa dusted almonds. After being asked several times I decided to do a comparison between plain almonds and some of the more popular flavored almonds. For this comparison I used the Blue Diamond brand since I am familiar with their product and what I found was that there was very little difference in the varieties. Of course one should always look at the label, but for example here’s a comparison of a couple varieties:
Almond Varieties: A Nutritional Breakdown
Whole Natural Almonds:
160 cal., 6g carbs, 14g total fats
Roasted and Salted Almonds :
170 cal., 5g carbs, 16g total fats
170 cal., 5g carbs, 16g total fats
( Note, they are higher in sodium due to the smoke flavoring )
Dark Chocolate Dusted:
160 cal., 9g carbs, 13g total fats
There’s a large variety of flavorings with more coming out every day. This is a great way to give yourself a change of pace so long as you’re looking at the nutritional information to make sure it’s not loaded with added sugars and fats.
So if you’re on the go or maybe you feel a little hungry between meals be sure to keep a small bag with an ounce of almonds in it. It’s a healthy snack loaded with nutrition and will keep you going until your next meal !