Despite the fact that almonds have been dubbed a super food, and even a wonder nut, it has taken me a while to warm up to almonds, at least in their raw, naked form. There was something about the texture that didn’t quite do it for me at first bite. I remained fixed on the notion that almonds just couldn’t, and wouldn’t, quite top my affinity for cashews and peanuts. That is, until eventually, they did.
Once I realized just how many rich nutrients abounded within this sleek nut, I became determined to love almonds in multiple forms, including almond butter, and almond milk. This versatile nut not only offers health benefits, disease preventing vitamins and minerals, and allegedly holds the potential to harness anti-aging effects, it’s a prime vegan alternative to readily work into any food or drink you are preparing, rather than reaching for peanut or soy based alternatives. Thanks to these nuts being a “high satiety” food, almonds leave you feeling energy-filled, yet not too full. Plus, for this reason they are also said to assist with gradual weight loss.
As if we needed more reason, encouragement or evidence to get nutty, a recent report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition affirmed that adults need not limit their nut consumption due to caloric concern, but rather this consumption was shown to boost the weight loss benefits, and assist in maintaining heart health. A healthy heart and a manageable waistline? What’s not to love.
Here are some simple ways to get your almond fix anytime of the day.
Sip Down: Whether your prefer a heartier fruit or vegetable-filled smoothie to kick-start your day, or would rather stick to coffee until your body wakes up, almond milk makes for a creamy addition to liven up your breakfast beverage. On top of beating out soy on popularity, almond milk is becoming increasingly accessible at coffee shop establishments as a secondary, or even oftentimes the primary non-dairy milk alternative. Not only does it blend well with fruit for a sweet smoothie, it blends equally as well with greens for a power shake. For an added crunch, and for thicker shake blends, throw a dollop of almonds on top.
Stir In: For a double dose of almonds, stir a splash of almond milk into your morning oatmeal. Top with both a modest-sized helping of fruit and a dollop of freshly ground (or any preferred variety of) almond butter. This combination makes for a protein packed breakfast that will keep you full and energized throughout your workday without a massive spike and crash in sugar, and without weighing you down.
Bake Up: If you find yourself with extra time in the morning, or perhaps the night prior, try baking it in the form of delightful hearty morning muffins, or caking it, that is, recreating your favorite pancake dish with the help of almond butter.
Munch On: For a munch-worthy snack, try a handful of almonds on their own. If you opt away from munching on them au natural, or with limited seasonings, Blue Diamond offers just about any flavor of almonds imaginable, whether you’re in the mood for almonds dressed up in sweet dark chocolate, or spicy wasabi. They’ve even branched out into fruit flavors.
Spread Atop: If you are looking for a smoother finish to your snack time, almond butter readily spread on a slice of fruit, such as an apple, or along of piece of celery, makes for a mighty fine snack. Add some raisins, or sprinkle some cinnamon on top, if you are looking to spice it up. Try stacking the apples if you are looking for a breadless, sweeter alternative to a typical nut butter sandwich. You know what they say. An apple sandwich a day keeps the doctor away, after all.
Toss It: To make a simple salad a bit more filling, top with a handful of almonds in full or chopped form. The same goes for that heaping helping of vegetables on your plate that you are looking to offer a crispy finish.
Sub It: Almonds—in milk, whole and butter form—can be used to readily “sub in” to any lunch or dinner meal. Be it almond milk in place of dairy milk in your macaroni and cheese. Or perhaps sliced and diced almonds in place of bread crumbs you planned on using to provide your tofu a crispy finish. You can even whip up an almond-infused nut sauce for a bit of Thai infusion.
Melt It: For a somewhat guilt-free dessert, melting dark chocolate and placing almonds on top to then store in the refrigerator, makes for a great go-to if you are trying to gradually divert yourself off more fatty sweet treats. Some call this a simplified variety of almond bark, I call it, attempting to moderate one’s sweet intake, yet still get a chocolate fix.
Swap It: Looking to mix up your peanut butter cookie recipe? A simple substitution of almond butter and almond milk allows for a less fattening treat. In fact, in virtually any dessert recipe calling for milk, almond milk can be used as a substitute. For a bite-size cookie indulgence, for dessert, in between meals, or even breakfast if you dare, try these cinnamon raisin almond cookie munchies.
Looking for more ideas? Check out these 10 Amazing Vegan Recipes Infused with Almonds