I know, I know…you are probably up to your eyeballs in suggestions for how to improve you diet, get better sleep, eat more greens, blah blah blah. I hear you…it can be overwhelming, with all these internet lists and online quizzes (“Are you eating enough leafy greens? Click here to find out…”).
It gets to be too much. Really. But I am going to offer you a few super easy suggestions to help recoup your dietary deficiencies in one fell swoop…or at least a trip to the grocery store.
And why, you ask? Why do I need this stuff? I mean, isn’t fat bad? That’s what we’ve all been told for years. But–and you’re all smart, so you’re probably on to this by now–fats are important for all kinds of organic processes in your body. They help lubricate joints and ligaments. They transport and process important fat-soluble vitamins. And fat serves as an important fuel source during long-duration activity. Fats also help you feel full after a meal, quick snacks in particular. This is why things like almonds and cashews make great on-the-go snacks.
So this week I’m going to give you a few quick ways to get your healthy fats quota…without a ton of extra effort or label-reading. (Because who has time for that?)
1. Pack plenty of nuts. Seriously…raw nuts might just be the perfect food. Almonds and cashews are among the lowest-calorie options, and give a good bang for your calorie buck. Walnuts have high levels of alpha linoleic acid, which means they go a long way towards reducing inflammation and helping out your heart. And peanuts (technically legumes) have a high folate content, which has been proven to help fight cognitive decline: good for your brain!
Look for nuts that are raw or dry-roasted; nuts that are salted or packed in oil might have oxidized, which reduces their healthful properties and introduces other chemicals you don’t want in your body. As a quick snack to take with me, I like to throw about a cup of nuts into one of those little snack baggies (less than 1 quart). I can fuel my day but also control my portion size.
2. Find a good fish oil. You might be rolling your eyes at this, but there are options out there that won’t make you gag…the key is to find one that tastes good, so you’ll use it consistently. These oils are packed with not just omega-3 fatty acids, but also omega-6 and omega-9…both important for getting a well-rounded dose of lipids. This really helps with joint lubrication and bone density, as well as vitamin absorption, energy and endurance, and sexual and hormonal health.
I really like Barlean’s Omega Swirl, which comes in a ton of tasty flavors, and also has special formulations for both men and women, as well as kids. Currently, I’m hooked on Mango-Peach, but all of the flavors are yummy enough to eat right off a spoon…no need to disguise it in yogurt or a smoothie. (This is not your mother’s fish oil.)
3. Try a grain-free granola or easy trail mix recipes. This has been my favorite part of writing this blog: getting to try new recipes and share them! It’s a hoot to check out different pages and websites, and try different methods and combinations…then add my own twist. I also love getting recipes from friends and being able to get their feedback and tips.
Go to the August archives of this blog try my favorite grain-free granola recipe, which has infinite opportunities for customization to your tastes.
Below is one of my new faves…I hope you like it as much as I do! This is another great quick snack, or handy appetizer recipe if you need to throw something together in a pinch for unexpected guests.
Smoky and Spicy Nut, Sesame, and Coconut “Bacon” Bar Nuts
1 c. raw cashew halves
1 c. raw whole almonds
3/4 c. large-flake unsweetened coconut (not shredded coconut)
2 T. hulled sesame seeds
2 T. coconut aminos or low-sodium tamari
1/2 T. pure maple syrup
1/2 t. liquid smoke (depending on how smoky you like it)
1/2 t. fine-grain sea salt or pink Himalayan salt
1/2 t. smoked paprika
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 325F.
2. In a large bowl, combine the cashews, almonds, coconut, and sesame seeds.
3. In a small bowl, stir together the coconut aminos (or tamari), maple syrup, liquid smoke, salt, paprika, and cayenne until combined.
4. Pour wet ingredients on top of the nuts and stir well with a spatula until thoroughly coated.
5. With the spatula, scoop the mixture onto the prepared sheet. Use the spatula to get all the liquid and seeds off the side of the bowl and spoon it onto the nut mixture.
6. Spread nuts out into a thin layer.
7. Bake at 325F for 10 minutes, stir, and bake another 10 minutes, or until the coconut flakes are golden. Turn on the range fan and open a window while it bakes as the smoked aroma is powerful.
8. Cool for 10 minutes on the pan. Store in a glass jar.
*Recipe courtesy of http://www.ohsheglows.com