Thursday, February 24, 2011

All they're cracked up to be...

As a child, I used to love de-shelling nuts for my Dad. One by one, I would work on each nut, giving my Dad his favorite snack. From peanuts at a baseball game to pistachios as a late afternoon snack, I found it so much fun! Now I know that de-shelling nuts, particularly pistachios, is well worth the work…

Why have you done a good thing?

Pistachios are a great source of monounsaturated fats, antioxidants, copper, manganese, phosphorus, B vitamins, and fiber. Pistachios have also been shown to be a great source of plant sterols, which have been shown to reduce LDL or “bad” cholesterol. Most importantly, pistachios are the lowest calorie nuts. One serving size of pistachios is 1 ounce or 49 nuts, which is 170 calories and 3 g of fiber, making pistachios a great snack that is much more satisfying than other nuts. Pistachios are a great snack to eat in from of the TV or at your desk because you can see the evidence of what you have eaten (the shells); if you are unable to cheat, you can’t overeat!!

How can I eat pistachios?

  • Sprinkle de-shelled pistachios onto green or grain salads
  • Mix pistachios into your trail mixes
  • Add pistachios onto cold or hot cereals, yogurts, and cottage cheese
  • Mix into healthy low-fat muffin recipes
  • Experiment with pistachio flour (especially if you are gluten intolerant
  • Use pistachios in pestos (see our previous posts on how to make pesto!)
  • Or just grab a handful and de-shell!!

              • Pistachio Encrusted Salmon (serves 1)

                1 salmon filet

                1 tbsp flour

                salt and pepper

                1 tsp grated garlic or garlic powder

                1 egg beaten

                ½ cup crush pistachio nuts (put nuts in a bag and beat with a rolling pin!)

                1 tsp olive oil

                Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, salt, pepper, garlic, and crushed nuts in one bowl. In a separate bowl, beat egg. Dip salmon into egg first, making sure it is well coated on both sides. Then dip salmon on both sides into flour/nut mixture. Then preheat a pan with oil and sear salmon for 1 minute on each side. Finish by baking in oven until desired doneness.

                Get Cracking!!!

                --Amy Santo, MS RD

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