SOURCE: Almond Board of California

March 22, 2010 08:00 ET

Power Up With Almonds

MISSION, KS--(Marketwire - March 22, 2010) -  (Family Features) It takes energy to endure a hectic, non-stop day. Whether you need to get through tough deadlines, long meetings, daily workouts or family-packed days, protein and fiber can give you the energy you need to win.

One of the easiest ways to get that protein is by eating almonds. "Almonds are the ultimate fitness nut," says Mitzi Dulan, RD, CSSD. Dulan, an expert in the field of nutrition, exercise and wellness, says that almonds help fuel everyday life because they're convenient, tasty and can go anywhere you do. "Almonds are the perfect on-the-go food to help you power through a grueling workout, or work day for that matter."

  • Just a handful of almonds has 6 grams of protein which helps you sustain energy and minimize cravings throughout the day.
  • Almonds are cholesterol free, low in saturated fat and a good source of dietary fiber (3.5g). Eating a handful of almonds a day (about 23) in place of foods higher in saturated fat can help you maintain a healthy cholesterol level without weight gain.(1)
  • When compared ounce for ounce, almonds are the tree nut highest in protein (6 g), fiber (3.5 g), calcium (75 mg), vitamin E (7.4 mg), riboflavin (0.3 mg), and niacin (1 mg). Talk about a small package packing a powerful punch.

It's easy to work almonds into your busy day:

7:00 a.m. After a morning workout.
Grab a handful of whole natural almonds to give your body a post-workout energy boost.

11:00 a.m. The late morning snack attack.
Keep a re-sealable bag of flavored almonds in your desk to help ward off the desire to ambush your coworker's candy bowl or visit the vending machines. 

12:30 p.m. Lunchtime's here.
Toss a handful of slivered or sliced almonds over your salad or pack a power lunch with a Turkey Pita with Fiery Almond Sauce (recipe below).

9:00 p.m. Evening munchies.
Munching on a handful of flavored almonds can satisfy your craving without undoing your whole day of eating right and exercise. Or mix-in whole or sliced almonds into fat-free frozen yogurt or your favorite whole grain cereal.

For more almond recipes and ideas, visit Try this power-packed pita to get you started.

Turkey Pitas with Fiery Almond Sauce
Servings: 1

1 whole wheat pita bread, halved
2 leaf lettuce leaves
4 ounces thinly sliced roast deli turkey breast
1/4 of a red bell pepper, thinly sliced
6 thin cucumber slices
2 tablespoons slivered almonds
2 tablespoons Fiery Almond Sauce (recipe below)

Line pita halves with lettuce leaves; fill with turkey, bell pepper, cucumber slices and almonds. Wrap sandwiches in plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 8 hours. Store sauce in a separate container and drizzle sandwich with sauce just before eating.

For Fiery Almond Sauce
1/4 cup almond butter
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon water
1 1/2 teaspoons regular or low sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
Generous pinch of ground cayenne pepper

For the sauce, place almond butter in small bowl. Add remaining ingredients and stir until smooth, using a fork. Sauce can be stored in an airtight container, refrigerated, for up to 1 week. Makes 1/3 cup.

(1) Good news about almonds and heart health Scientific evidence suggests, but does not prove, that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, such as almonds, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease. One serving of almonds (28g) has 13g of unsaturated fat and only 1g of saturated fat.