My children aren’t the biggest fans of eating raw nuts. Roasted and salted, yes, they’d dig in, but almost never do they eat it raw. But they don’t seem to mind them in granola, in banana bread or cakes or where they don’t know nuts are being used or if there’s some form of sugar involved. The husband fellow will eat them if he’s handed some in a plate but won’t make the effort to have them as a part of a healthy diet. I, on the other hand munch on nuts when I feel like eating something but am not hungry enough for a meal or just for jolly. In fact, a couple of cashews plus 4-5 raisins is one of my favorite post meal desserts.
Today, I’m sharing my five favorite ways to include these nutrient powerhouses in everyday cooking/diet that is approved by everyone at home. If you have a baby/kid(s) at home, please do be wary of allergies/allergic reactions. My son is allergic to sesame seeds and I try and avoid anything with it for him.
1. As Nut & Seed Butters –
These are so easy to make at home and cost a fraction of what you spend at a supermarket. Choose your favorite nut and pulse it. Then blend it, scraping sides until it starts releasing its oils and turns buttery. 7-10 minutes typically. You can roast them before pulsing if you want. Store in a clean, air-tight container and use it in smoothies, on toast, in curries, eat it as is or with fruits/veggies etc. Replace peanut butter with almond butter in a PBJ sammich, it’s amazing. While you’re at it, try almond butter + crisp apple slices – hi from heaven!
Desiccated/dry coconut (although not technically a nut) makes for an absolute delish butter too. The process remains the same.
I’ve had store bought pumpkin seed butter and sunflower seed butter too and hope to recreate them at home some time.
2. Bliss Balls/Nut Laddoos –
I’ve already shared a recipe for this in my blog earlier. These are great as snack for kids, as a pre-workout snack or to pop one in your mouth when you have a sweet craving. You can find the recipe here. You can easily customize these and try different add-ins every time.
You can also replace the dates with jaggery to make it more chikki/brittle like.
3. In Salads –
I LOVE how nut butters make a salad creamy and indulgent. Peanut butter and tahini make for a great base for salad dressing. You can find a great salad dressing recipe here and a way to use Tahini here. Even better are roasted/toasted nuts in salads. They can add the perfect crunch to elevate any salad. Roasted cashews are my favorite! Caramelized walnuts/pecans are another level of divinity.
Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, toasted sesame seeds in salads are great additions too.
4. Trail Mix –
This is as simple as it can get. Mix your favorite dried fruits, nuts, seeds and add-in other healthy but fun (because I’m now a health nut, geddit?) stuff like coconut chips, dark chocolate bits, cracker bits, pretzels etc.
Make it as healthy as you’d like or (slightly) unhealthy with add-ins like white chocolate or milk chocolate chips, or Gems/Smarties. Whatever floats your boat (or cravings), really.
Roast the nuts for an enhanced flavor. You can also add seasonings of choice. Slightly salted nuts/seeds with sweet dried fruits is a match made in heaven. This was my favorite snack when my kids were newborns as it gave me the perfect energy boost needed as a full time breastfeeding mom.
Fox nuts/lotus seeds/makhana is another staple at home. We all love it toasted in ghee and sprinkled with chaat masala. I almost always have a jar of this at home.
5. In Soups, Smoothies, & Porridge –
Nuts can make any smoothie or soup nice and creamy. Cashews and almonds are something I often use in soups. They also make smoothies feel fuller.
If you choose not to blend them, you can choose to top your smoothies and soups with nuts and seeds to add a crunchy. They’re also great as toppings on porridges, oatmeal, chia pudding, etc.
Popped amaranth seeds are great on soups, smoothie bowls, etc. They’re like an adorable teeny-tiny version of popcorn.
In addition to these, I also make chia seeds pudding very often for breakfast, dessert or snack and I make multiple portions of this every time because we all love it so much. Seed crackers are another favorite. I used to buy this from a local baker but have since made it at home myself following this recipe. It’s super easy to make and goes well with all sorts of dips. I add flax seeds to my puddings and smoothies or mix some flaxseed powder into my roti/chapathi dough or dosai batter.
Nut butters can be used to make cookies if your children (or you) aren’t fond of biting into whole nuts in cookies. This is one of my FAVORITE cookies of all times.
One thing to keep in mind while consuming nuts and seeds is that although they’re packed with fiber, protein, antioxidants, healthy fats, etc. they’re also packed with calories. So don’t go overboard and count on them to fill you up during meal time. Instead opt for smaller portions as an add-on to meals or as a little snack in between meals.
I hope this post was useful for you. Please do let me know what you think.
Until next time, go nuts! Seed you soon. (sorry, had to)