Epicurean Charlotte

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CHRONICLING THE JOYS OF FOOD AND WINE IN THE CHARLOTTE METROPOLITAN REGION

Seven Plant-based Tips for a Healthy Weight


reprinted with permission from Brandpoint

Whether you’re a vegan, vegetarian, or omnivore, it’s important to eat a diet that includes a symphony of minimally-processed plant foods, according to Sharon Palmer, an award-winning registered dietitian nutritionist, plant-based food and nutrition expert, author, and blogger. This includes whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, herbs, spices, seeds, and nuts.

“The key to health—for people and the planet—is becoming increasingly clear. We need to make a sure-footed return to including plants regularly in our diet,” says Palmer. For some, including more of the above in their daily diet (or switching over entirely) can be difficult, Palmer acknowledges. If the goal is weight loss or maintenance, she suggests starting with pistachios.

“Pistachios offer a multitude of health benefits that can help you maintain a healthy weight,” notes Palmer. “The fact that they’re extremely versatile, and taste great, makes it easy to include them regularly, if not daily.”Palmer offers these seven tips to achieve or maintain a healthy weight:


Prioritize Breakfast
Eating breakfast kick starts your metabolism and gives you energy and focus to begin your day. Adding pistachios to common breakfast foods, like cereal, toast, or oatmeal, can balance your blood sugar levels and prevent energy slumps. Whole, chopped, or crushed pistachios can add a satisfying crunch and a flavorful punch of plant-based protein.


Add Movement
Just 20 to 30 minutes of daily physical activity, like a brisk walk, can help you maintain or lose weight. Instead of watching TV before or after dinner, encourage your family to join you for a stroll around the neighborhood. On the weekends, longer walks or hikes are the perfect time to reconnect with loved ones. Luckily, pistachios are lightweight and portable—the perfect snack for refueling after exercise. Keep a bag handy in your car, backpack, or purse for a quick pick-me-up.


Start with SMART Goals
Sustainable weight loss begins with baby steps. When your goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound, you’re more likely to achieve them. Try this goal on for size: Replace your usual afternoon snack with one serving of shelled pistachios three times per week for one week. Achieving SMART goals boosts your confidence, and these small pistachio wins are packed with protein, B vitamins, healthy fats, potassium, and even antioxidants.


Don’t Skip Meals or Snacks
Skipping meals can lead to uncontrollable hunger and binge eating. Three to five hours after eating, your blood sugar begins to fall and can leave you feeling fatigued and unfocused. Eating three small to moderate meals, and two to four snacks per day, can keep hunger at bay and keep your energy levels steady. Crack open a handful of pistachios for a quick snack—no preparation required—and you’ll be ready to tackle whatever the day throws at you.


Pre-portion Pistachios
Did you know there are 49 pistachios in one serving? That’s more than any other nut, plus 10 percent of the daily value of fiber. Pre-portion pistachios into small bags on Sunday evening, and you’ll be set for a week of smart snacking. At just 160 calories per serving, pistachios are a nutritious, low-calorie, portable snack that can help you reach your goals.


Get Creative with Pistachio Flour
Pistachio flour is a fun, gluten-free flour alternative that can spice up traditional recipes. Adding ground pistachios to standard crust recipes can boost the fiber and protein content of your favorite dishes. Try adding pistachio flour to Greek yogurt, along with freshly chopped garlic and lemon zest for a tangy, protein-rich, savory dip.


Swap Your Nighttime Snack
When hunger strikes late at night, it’s easy to reach for indulgent foods. Swap your typical nighttime snack of cookies, candies, pizza, or ice cream for a more balanced choice: pistachios. Forget willpower and keep a pre-portioned bag of pistachios handy for when you need it the most.


Whether you have a little or a lot of extra weight to shed, adding pistachios to the mix has helped many people lose weight and improve overall health, adds Palmer