Monday, February 25, 2013

The Power of Nuts

Have you ever considered substituting meat for nuts? Meat is a favorite source of protein for many.  However, some may not know that nuts also have protein, along with other health benefits.  This Meatless Monday, try choosing nuts instead of meat! Here are some reasons why.

We promote Meatless Monday for a couple main ways- one of them being the sustainability aspect of eating less meat.  Lowering your consumption of meat will significantly lower your carbon footprint, as not eating one pound of meat saves 52.8 gallons of water.  However, another important reason we promote Meatless Monday is that eating too much meat can have serious health affects.  Meat is loaded with saturated fats.  High intakes of saturated fats can often lead to cancer, heart disease and obesity.  While meat is still a nutritious part of a well-balanced diet, over-eating meat is dangerous, and dangerously easy to do.

Meat Protein Vs. Nut Protein

In order to prevent ourselves from over consuming meat, we have to be creative in finding other sources of satisfying protein- and nuts is one excellent alternative.  Both meat and nuts contain protein.  Meat is considered a complete protein, meaning that it contains all nine of the essential amino acids. However, meat also comes with extra calories and unhealthy saturated fats.  Nuts on the other hand contain protein, nutrients and minerals that meat doesn't provide, as well as healthy unsaturated fats.  Unsaturated fats actually help your body by doing things such as lowering cholesterol.  The other healthy aspects of nuts are that nuts contain omega-3 fatty acids, which keeps your heart healthy; fiber, which lowers risk of diabetes; and vitamin- E, which prevents heart disease.

Of course, nuts shouldn't be your only source of protein.  As mentioned before, nuts are not a complete protein.  This is why balance is so important in ones diet, and why Meatless Monday is a great healthy lifestyle change.  By varying the types of foods you eat- nuts some days, meat other days, etc.  you will have a healthier body.

Try incorporating nuts into your diet.  In Terraces, add sunflowers to your salad at the salad bar.  In towers, try a fresh food market entree and replace the meat with a topping of nuts that are provided daily.  Every Monday, if you are feeling hungry or low energy, grab a bag of nuts to snack on.  Sub connection and Macs both sell prepackaged bags of nuts.  

Happy Meatless Monday!

-Jackie
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