Saturday, February 16, 2013

23 Almonds

I was planning on writing another "Food Traditions" post about our paella dinner, but then I was informed that today is National Almond Day, and since I had an almond post swirling around in my head, that seemed like the obvious choice.

Though my current class schedule is less stressful than last semester's, when I sometimes left home at 6:45am and got home around 9pm, I still have to consume a fair amount of my energy away from home, and I don't have ready access to refrigeration or cooking appliances. This means a lot of shelf stable foods, and that tends to get boring fast - not to mention the fact that those easy traveling foods don't often have a good intersection of "nutritionally sound" and "energy dense."


Almonds are a different story, though. Okay, sure, this isn't something I'd want to make a whole meal of, but they're definitely a healthy ingredient. They have a reasonable amount of fat (contrast pecans or macadamias), most of which is unsaturated, alongside Vitamin E and some other mineral goodness. The balance of protein, fats, and carbohydrates (fiber!) gives this tiny snack impressive staying power. Pair this with a piece of fruit and some carrot sticks, and I'm pretty well set for a six hour school day (assuming I eat a good breakfast, which I do!).

Of course, portioning with nuts is incredibly important, because it is so very easy to eat way, way more than a serving. Which is why I was thrilled when I won this little almond tin in my Food Science class for correctly answering a trivia question. I've taken nuts or seeds to school with me for a long time, but I was always just pouring what I "thought" was an ounce in a zip bag and happily munching away. I have no doubt that some days I was eating double (or more!) the proper serving size. Ever since I got this tin, though, I've been refilling it almost every day, happy to be consuming just the right amount of a healthy snack, with a bonus of not having to throw away any more plastic baggies.

Cheers! Enjoy your almonds, guys.

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