It’s no secret that the most common way to gain weight is by overeating. Contrary to popular belief, people who fall into this trap don’t have a problem stopping at first. The reason for this is a delay in your body’s emission of the satiety hormone known as leptin. Improper eating habits are a principal cause of this faulty response.
Thus, a sustainable way to slim down would be to retrain your neurotransmitters so that they retort correctly during mealtime. Programs such as the leptin diet plan aim to achieve this through clean and responsible eating. A good way to do this at home is by munching on a healthy snack between meals.
This keeps blood sugar levels stable and curbs cravings, which is beneficial when you are trying to stimulate leptin production. Junk food is certainly out of the question. Fortunately, there are quite a few substitutes out there, and one of the tastiest and most versatile on the market comes in the form of nuts.
According to the Mayo Clinic, consuming nuts is beneficial for heart health. Studies have uncovered their ability to lower the amount of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which is referred to as ‘the bad kind’ in layman’s terms. What is more, they reduce inflammation, protect your arteries, and prevent blood clots.
All in all, nuts are a tasty way to stay healthy. Although they are rich in calories, when consumed with moderation they will not affect your figure in any way. In fact, they might even help you lose weight if you pop a few when you’re hungry between meals. Here are three delicious recipe ideas that use nuts in order to create the perfect snack.
1. Honey-Roasted Nut Mix
The easiest and most delicious way to prepare your own nutty snack at home is by roasting them with honey. This adds a shiny golden glaze to them, making them the perfect healthy, yet sweet delight to nibble on when you’re craving a treat or feeling peckish.
- ¼ cup slivered almonds;
- ¼ cup chopped pecans;
- ¼ cup chopped hazelnuts;
- ¼ cup sunflower seed kernels;
- ¼ cup honey;
- 1 tsp butter;
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon;
- ¼ teaspoon salt;
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom;
- and a pinch of ground cloves.
Prepare the baking sheet by lining it with foil or parchment paper, then coat it with cooking spray. Place a non-stick skillet over medium heat and throw in the butter. Once it starts to melt, stir the honey in as well. Cook the glaze for two minutes, or until you see bubbles forming at the edges of the pan, signaling that it’s ready.
Then, add the assorted nuts and spices. Cook them for 8 minutes until they turn golden, and don’t forget to stir the pan frequently so that nothing sticks or burns. After they are done, pour them over the baking sheet and let them cool off completely. You can eat them as they areor mix in some dried fruit for some added flavor.
2. Cashew Snack Balls
Sometimes nut mix just doesn’t cut it. In order to keep your blood sugar at an optimal level and curb cravings, you want to eat something that is a bit more nourishing. These cashew snack balls made with deliciously sticky date and dried apricot are the perfect solution for that.
- 1 cup cashews (can be replaced by walnuts or almonds);
- 1 ¼ cups pitted dates;
- ¼ cup dried apricots;
- ¼ cup sesame seeds;
- 1 tbsp almond butter;
- ½ tsp cinnamon;
- and a pinch of sea salt.
Throw the nuts and sea salt in a food processor until they are coarsely ground. Gradually add in the rest of the ingredients and process them until the mixture starts sticking together. Then, roll them into balls using your hands. They last for two weeks in the fridge and one if kept outside, provided that you store them in an airtight container.
If you want to make this sweet snack extra indulgent, try melting some dark chocolate in a pot and coating the balls with it. However, this is not recommended when you’re on a diet, because it adds more calories to the total count. It is a good idea to keep that in mind anytime you’re trying something new, but the decision is all yours.
3. Cajun Boiled Peanuts
Instead of eating plain salted nuts as a savory snack, you can try mixing it up with some fun ingredients and unconventional cooking methods. Native to the American state of Florida, this recipe for Cajun boiled peanuts is exactly what you need to spice up your snack arsenal.
- 1 pounds raw peanuts with shells;
- 3 oz. dry crab boil;
- ½ cup chopped Jalapenos;
- ½ cup red pepper flakes;
- ½ cup salt;
- 2 tbsp Cajun seasoning;
- and 1 tbsp garlic powder.
This delicious and unique peanut snack requires some patience, as it is prepared in a slow cooker. Turn yours on and add the ingredients, then cover the peanuts with water. Stir for a while to combine all the different flavors, then leave the dish to cook on low. The peanuts need to soften, which means that they will have to simmer for at least 24 hours.
When the water level goes down due to evaporation, add some more to keep the peanuts covered entirely. Stir occasionally during this time as well. Once they have the right texture to them, take them out and drain them well. The dish can be served hot right on the spot or consumed cold later on as a healthy Southern-inspired treat.
Eating right is essential for getting in shape. Fortunately, healthy food doesn’t need to be boring. These three recipes incorporate different types of nuts with flavorful spices and other unique ingredients, which results in a true explosion of taste. Thus, next time you’re feeling peckish and want a quick snack, remember that nuts are the best choice.