Thank you to California Almonds for sponsoring today’s conversation. All opinions presented here are my own. This post contains affiliate links.
My husband and I are always talking about ways to improve our family’s diet.
I know that sounds like a fairly innocuous subject, but I happen to find it pretty stressful. I mean, there are so many things to take into consideration. Is our food organic? Non-GMO? Gluten-free? Lactose-free? Does it contain food dye? Refined sugar? High fructose corn syrup? Artificial sweeteners? All the colors of the rainbow?
Factor in two kids who would happily eat chicken fingers, pizza, and waffles 7 days a week…and we’ve got our work cut out for us.
The kids are at a new school this year – one that we absolutely love. But our school community is a bit – how do I say this nicely – crunchy? Or maybe health conscious is a better word? Whatever it is, it’s intimidating. I show up for playdates with pretzels and applesauce cups – the other moms bring rice cakes and pea chips. (Pea chips? How is this even a thing?)
I know, I’m practically a lost cause.
As much as we’d like to envision a complete diet overhaul, my husband and I agree that this is totally impractical. So we try to keep it simple. Instead of switching to a [whatever]-free or a non-[something] diet, our best bet is to introduce and incorporate as many unprocessed, plant-based foods into our family’s eating routine.
Here are some of the foods we’ve been trying to buy and keep stocked up on:
- fresh fruits and vegetables
- frozen vegetables
- frozen fruit (for smoothies)
- canned beans and tomatoes
- old fashioned oats
- whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat pasta)
- nut butters (almond, peanut, hazelnut)
- almonds and other nuts
Actually, almonds are already a family staple – we’ve kept a big container of them in the pantry for years, and we’ll grab a handful for a quick, nutritious snack – even the kids. But while prepping for this post, I learned a few new things about almonds and other sources of plant-based protein.
1. One ounce of almonds contains about 6 grams of protein. (one ounce = about 23 almonds)
2. Nuts, beans, legumes, seeds, and whole grains are all sources of plant protein. This is of particular importance if you are following a vegan or vegetarian diet.
3. Plant-based proteins tend to be higher in fiber than animal-based proteins. They also tend to have less saturated fat and higher levels of unsaturated fats, which makes them a heart-smart choice.
4. California almond growers (the sponsor of this post) are committed to using innovative and sustainable agricultural practices, like water conservation and waste management. For example, almond growers today use 33% less water per pound of almonds than they did 20 years ago.
5. Almond trees and the water used to grow them produce three separate products – the nut itself, the hull (which is used to feed livestock), and the shell (which is used as livestock bedding and alternative energy). All parts of the harvest are used, which means that there is minimal waste.
So back to improving my family’s diet.
I found lots of really yummy sounding plant-based recipes made with almonds. Yummy sounding – and kind of fancy. And if you have kids like mine – well, fancy just won’t do. I decided to keep it simple by jazzing up something that we all already eat – whole almonds for snacking. This recipe for Cinnamon Spice Almonds from Plant Based on a Budget was perfect.
Cinnamon Spice Almonds
recipe source: plantbasedonabudget.com
- 1 1/2 cups raw Almonds
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp Allspice
- 1 tbsp Maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 325 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Place almonds in a medium bowl. In a separate smaller bowl, whisk together the cinnamon, allspice, and maple syrup. Pour on top of the almonds and mix well.
- Evenly spread the almonds on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Let cool completely before eating.
Easy peasy, and yummy too!
If you’re up for something a little more challenging but equally kid-friendly, these Magical Almond Cookies from Well and Full look awesome. (I haven’t tried them yet – if you make them, let me know how they turn out!)
You can learn more about the health benefits of almonds and the Power of Plant-Based Meals at Almonds.com.