Saturday, January 21, 2012

#12 of 12 Foods to Eat More of in 2012

Drumroll please...The final food to make my list of 12 foods to eat more of this year is:

12. Walnuts

Sure, we've been hearing about this one for a while, but walnuts have remained on the list of "powerhouse" foods for a good reason. Walnuts are a rare source of polyunsaturated fat, one of the types that can help lower cholesterol. They also contain protein, fiber, omega-3s and minerals. Monounsaturated fats, like olive oil and almonds, have reined supreme, but polyunsaturated fats are starting to get even more hype lately for their heart-health benefits. 

I've met with many clients who initially think fat intake should be held to a minimum when trying to eat a healthy diet. So untrue! Aside from health benefits, fats are also very filling, so they have a rightful place on your plate. It's actually the type of fat that matters. Saturated and trans fats are harmful to heart health, so watch out for them. But unsaturated fats should be included in multiple servings every day! Since they are a fat, a small amount will help fill you up fast. So exercise caution; an 1/8 of a cup (same as 2 tablespoons) contains about 100 calories.

I love to add walnut pieces to cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, trail mix, salads and pasta. Use them in place of meat/cheese/eggs to avoid between-meal hunger or as a healthy snack. Check out this website for more information.

Stay tuned for a recap of the entire list tomorrow!

Photo credit: Walnuts by Suat Eman