How Pistachios Can Help You Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

THURSDAY, MARCH 13, 2014

March is National Nutrition Month and this year’s theme is “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right,” which pertains not only to meals, but also snacks. During the past 30 years, daily snacking occasions have steadily increased by nearly 25 percent. 1 Snacks have become an integral part of the daily diet, and we need to make those 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. snack breaks count. Move away from empty calories and upgrade to nutrient-rich snacks that fill you up and pack in important vitamins and minerals.

Need some inspiration for building a better snack? We’ve got you covered! Here are a few mouth-watering pistachio snack pairings to get you started … of which definitely fit into “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right.”

  1. Pistachios, Smoked Sea Salt Caramels, Popcorn with Chipotle and Rosemary and Light Cream Soda from Healthfully Ever After
  2. Pistachios, Coconut Chips, Chocolate Dipped Pineapple, and Sparkling Water with Lime from Uproot from Oregon
  3. Pistachio, Date, and Smoked Salmon Plate from Food Confidence
  4. Pistachios, Dark Chocolate, and Almond Milk with Amaretto Liqueur rom Yeah…Imma Eat That

 

 Recipe ReDux

 

Here are four helpful snacking tips, perfect for anytime of the year, not just National Nutrition Month:

  • Think of snacks as part of your daily diet, not just as an indulgence. You can fit snack calories into your personal healthy eating plan without over-spending your day’s caloric budget. For example, look for flavorful and filling snacks like pistachios, where you can get 30 pistachios for about 100 calories.
  • Keep portion control in mind. One way to control how much you eat is to put your snack in a separate bowl instead of eating directly out of the bag or container, as this often leads to overeating. Studies show that the large package size increases caloric consumption by an average of 22 percent. 2
  • Plan snacks ahead of time. Keep a variety of nutritious ready-to-eat snacks on hand, such as whole-grain crackers, nuts such as pistachios, whole fruit such as grapefruit, or low-fat cheese.3
  • Avoid mindless eating with the Pistachio Principle – The “Pistachio Principle” is a simple, mindful eating concept that may help you fool yourself full – without feelings of deprivation. Pistachios are unique in that they are a commonly consumed in‐shell snack nut. In‐shell pistachios take longer to eat, so the consumption time is slowed. Two preliminary studies suggest that empty pistachio shells can serve as an important visual cue about the amount consumed, potentially encouraging “mindfulness” as one eats and reduced calorie intake. 4,5
1)        Piernas, C., Popkin, B. “Snacking Increased among U.S. Adults between 1977 and 2000” J Nutr. 2010, 140:325-332.
2)        Azrin, N.H., Kellen, M.J., Brooks, J., Ehle, C., & Vinas, V. “Relationship Between Rate of Eating and Degree of Satiation.” Child & Fam Behav Therapy. 2008, 30(4):355-364.
3)        http://www.eatright.org/nnm/handoutsandtipsheets/#.UPdQNvJEI20 – “Smart Snacking for Adults and Teens”
4)        Honselman, C.S., Painter, J.E., Kennedy-Hagan, K.J., Halvorson, A., Rhodes, K., Brooks, T.L., & Skwir, K. “In-shell pistachio nuts reduce caloric intake compared to shelled nuts.” Appetite. 2011, 57(2):414-417.
5)        Painter, J. “The Effect of Pistachio Shells as a Visual Cue in Reducing Caloric Consumption.”  Appetite. 2011, 57(2):418-420.