Nuts & seeds are undoubtedly some of my favorite foods. They are delicious, nutritious, and easy to travel with or keep on hand as a snack. I use them regularly in most of my meals as well because they add a pleasant crunch and heartiness due to their well-rounded nutrient content of fat, protein, and carbohydrate.
It’s commonly thought that most nuts are just that — nuts! However, the truth is that some foods commonly called “nuts” are actually kernels or legumes. The following “nuts” are not Paleo approved foods and should be avoided: peanuts (legume), soy nuts (legume), and corn nuts (roasted corn kernels). Flax & chia seeds could also be on this list, since they’re technically grain seeds and weren’t consumed by our Paleolithic ancestors, but due to their high omega-3 content, some people consider them acceptable foods in moderation.
These nuts & seeds are acceptable Paleo foods: almonds, pecans, walnuts, brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, chestnuts, macadamia nuts, pine nuts, pistachio nuts, candlenuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, & sesame seeds.
Other than eating nuts & seeds by the handful, you can also enjoy them in trail mix, baked goods, or nut butters! Here are two of my favorite extra nutty recipes!
Homemade Trial Mix:
• 2 cups sunflower seeds, unshelled & unsalted
• 2 cups pumpkin seeds, raw & unstalted
• 1 cup walnuts, unshelled
• 1 cup almonds
• 1 cup pistachios, unshelled & unsalted
• 1 cup dried fruit, unsweetened (raisins, cranberries, pineapple, etc.)
• 3/4 cup coconut flakes, dried & unsweetened
• 1/2 cup bitter dark chocolate (optional)
Mix all ingredients in a bowl, container, or zip-lock bag, and it’s ready to eat!
You can make your own variations of this recipe by using different combinations of nuts, seeds, and dried fruits. If you’d like to add some spices to make it more flavorful, mix a teaspoon of nutmeg and/or cinnamon. If you’d like a sweeter flavor, you can preheat your oven to 350 degrees, put only nuts and seeds on a baking sheet, drizzle a teaspoon of raw honey over it, bake for 5 minutes, let cool and remove from the baking sheet, and then mix with the other ingredients.
Homemade Vanilla Nut Butter:
• 5 cups of nuts (almonds, cashews, hazelnut, etc.)
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon and/or nutmeg
Add ingredients into the food processor bowl and process for about 10-15 minutes, stopping to scrape the bowl every 30-60 seconds as needed. This should take between 10-15 minutes.