Nuts

Article written by Brenda Aufdenkamp (baufdenkamp1@unl.edu), Extension Educator in Lincoln County.

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Nuts are a quick and tasty snack that can give your diet a nutritional boost. Most supermarkets carry a variety of nuts in their shells. It can be a little messy to crack them open but a great experience for children* to see how nuts look when they grow on a tree. Along with a variety of vitamins and minerals, nuts contain beneficial unsaturated fats, protein, and fiber. Here is how different types of nuts compare by calories, fat, fiber and protein.

Nuts for Nutrients
Tree Nuts (1 oz.)Serving SizeCaloriesFat (g)Fiber (g)Protein (g)
Almonds 20-23 whole nuts 163 14 3.5 6.0
Cashews 16 nuts 157 12.4 2.3 5.2
Hazelnuts 21 nuts 180 17 2.7 4
Macadamias 10-12 nuts 204 21.5 2.4 2.2
Peanuts* 28 peanuts 166 14 2.4 6.9
Pecans 19 halves 196 20 2.7 2.6
Pistachios 49 nuts 159 13 2.9 5.8
Walnuts 14 halves 185 18.5 1.9 4.3

*Nuts can be a choking hazard and should not be fed to young children under the age of 4.

**Peanuts are technically a legume (a dried pea, bean, or lentil), but they are used like nuts and have a similar nutrient profile.

Nutty Facts
Nuts make a great snack that offers a delicious source of protein.

  • Nuts in their shells will keep about 6 to 12 months if stored in a cool, dry place, but shelled nuts will keep only for 3 to 4 months.
  • Keeping nuts in the refrigerator or freezer slows rancidity or the development of off-flavors.
  • Shop for unsalted or lightly salted varieties to maximize the nutritional value.
  • Most nut butters are as nutritious as nuts themselves: almond butter, peanut butter, cashew butter, etc.
  • Tree nuts and peanuts are on the list of the eight major allergens that must be listed on packaged foods sold in the U.S. For more information on food allergies, check out UNL’s Food Allergy Research & Resource Program

Additional resources from Nebraska Extension:

Recipe ideas using nuts:

Sources:

  1. USDA Food Composition Databases
  2. Nuts: Highly Nutritious Plant Protein, Berkley Wellness, University of California: 
  3. Practice Choking Prevention, USDA

This newsletter has been peer-reviewed.