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NUTritional Snacks

Updated: Friday, May 10 2013, 09:23 AM CDT

Hy-Vee dietitian Judy Fitzgibbons joined the J-Crew on this Monday morning to put the nut in nutrition.

Aw, Nuts!


If you’re looking for a delicious, nutritious and convenient snack for busy, watch-the-kids’-soccer days, to survive business travel or take on vacation, nuts are a terrific choice. They’re compact, don’t melt in warm weather and provide some very good nutritional value.


The days of eating fat-free are over, according to Johnson Avenue Hy-Vee dietitian, Judy Fitzgibbons. “I believe it’s important to include some healthy fat in every meal,” she says, “and there are some very good reasons to get that fat from nuts.” Several studies found health benefits from eating one to two ounces of nuts a day. They can make meals and snacks more satisfying for people trying to cut calories. Eating nuts regularly may reduce the risk of developing diabetes and heart disease.

Walnuts uniquely contain alpha-linolenic omega-3 fatty acids (ALA), which is associated with heart health. Fourteen walnut halves, about one ounce, nearly meet the daily recommended amount of ALA. Almonds are a good source of magnesium, an essential mineral for strong bones and other tree nuts provide good amounts of copper and protein. Walnuts and almonds earn NuVal™ scores of 81 and 82, respectively, which are excellent ratings in NuVal’s 100-point range.*

Be aware that nuts are high in calories, 150 to 200 per ounce. If you want to snack on nuts, Fitzgibbons recommends counting one ounce into snack bags to avoid over-doing it. Or, add them to everyday foods. Try these easy ways to make nuts the healthy fat in your meals and snacks:

·        Mix dried fruit and walnuts together for a simple snack.

·        Sprinkle chopped almonds on vegetable pizza, oatmeal or pasta dishes.

·        Toss toasted pecans in a salad with fresh berries and salad greens.

·        Make a yogurt parfait with chopped walnuts and fresh berries.

·        Coat fish or poultry with chopped pecans and herbs.

·        Include walnuts in side dishes such as brown rice, quinoa or couscous.


Toasting nuts brings out nut flavors. Simply heat a skillet for 5 minutes on medium heat. Add shelled nuts, stirring frequently. Heat until the nuts have a fragrant aroma. Cool. Refrigerate or store in the freezer if you plan to keep them for a month or more.

*Look for NuVal scores on the price tags at Hy-Vee. The higher the number, the better the nutritional value.

Judy Fitzgibbons represents Hy-Vee as a nutrition expert working throughout the community to promote healthy eating and nutrition. Judy is a Registered Dietitian and member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.


NUTritional Snacks

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Jen Heringhausen
Julie Gallagher-Edgewood
Collins Road/Lindale
Oakland Rd
Mt. Vernon Road
Johnson Ave
1st Ave
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