Foods We Love: Almonds

Looking for a portable, crunchy protein snack that will give you a midday boost of energy? Grab a pack of almonds. If you're office-bound, most snack machines at the workplace are not going to provide options for healthy, lasting energy. Fortunately, almonds are easily available at a local grocer or newsstands, and their high-protein, low-sugar count will keep you going until dinner.

Almonds are mentioned in history as far back as the Bible, as a valuable ingredient used in the bread of Egyptian Pharaohs, and the Romans used to shower newlyweds with them to promote fertility. They are believed to have originated in Central Asia, and the almond tree was brought to California from Spain in the mid-18th century.

Almonds provide 20 grams of protein for a cup's worth (95 grams in weight), as well as 12 grams of fiber. Fiber is shown to be a great help in weight loss as it provides a feeling of fullness, therefore encouraging a person to feel full for a longer time. It is also well-known for its ability to aid in bowel regularity and can be helpful in regulating blood sugar. It is also a good source of Riboflavin and Magnesium, as well as Vitamin E, which supports the cardiovascular system and brain functioning.

Now, I definitely like eating these on their own, but if you'd like to enjoy their nutty flavor along with another healthy food, check out this recipe for Green Beans with Almond and Thyme, courtesy of

Green Beans with Almonds and Thyme Recipe
2 lbs of (fresh or frozen) green beans, trimmed
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or non-dairy alternative
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon garlic salt
2 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1/3 cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted

Cook the green beans in a large pot of boiling salted water until just crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.
Drain the beans and transfer them to a large bowl of ice water, cooling them completely. (The ice water will shock the beans into a vibrant green color.)
Drain the beans well. At this point you can make the beans a day ahead and store in refrigerator.
Alternatively you can steam the beans for 5 minutes and proceed directly to the skillet.

Melt the butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium high heat.
Whisk in half of the fresh thyme (1 Tbsp), the Dijon mustard and garlic salt into the butter.
Add the beans to the skillet and toss until heated through, about 4 minutes.
Transfer to a serving bowl.
Sprinkle with toasted almonds and the remaining 1 Tbsp of thyme.

Serves 8.

photo: HealthAliciousNess