Belinda Neville #nuts30days30ways Challenge Interview

Belinda Neville #nuts30days30ways Challenge Interview

Gluten Free Choc Chestnut Brookie

Serves: 18 Biscuits
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins

1 cup hazelnut meal (95 g)
1/4 cup cacao powder (25 g)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed (75 g)
1 egg
1/3 cup olive oil (80 ml)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 - 9 fresh chestnuts, roasted or boiled, chopped (100 g; 3/4 cup)
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (50 g)

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a tray with baking paper.
Combine hazelnut meal, cacao powder, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and mix well.
In a jug, whisk together sugar, egg, oil and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir vigorously. Fold through chocolate chips and chopped chestnuts.
Scoop chocolate mixture onto the prepared tray with a tablespoon measure.
Bake 10 minutes, cool on tray 1 minute before moving onto a rack. Repeat with any remaining batter.
Tip: If chestnuts are out of season, substitute with an equal quantity of another chopped tree nut.

Recipe by Nuts For Life


Belinda Neville #nuts30days30ways Challenge Interview

Australians are urged to go nuts and join the #nuts30days30ways challenge this September.

Now in its third year, the #nuts30days30ways challenge encourages Australians to snack on a handful of nuts each day, for a month, and by doing so, help them develop a tasty habit with big health benefits.

"Nuts are nutrient-dense powerhouses that can help you manage your weight, look after your heart, live longer and they are great brain food too," said Nuts for Life Dietitian Belinda Neville.

"The problem is Aussies aren't eating enough nuts to gain the many health benefits. On average we eat just 6g a day – well short of the recommended 30g handful.

"This challenge is all about reminding people that getting your serve of nuts a day is just as important as eating your fruit and veggies. And let's face it, nuts really do make healthy snacking easy."

Run by Nuts for Life, Australia's leading nut nutrition body, the #nuts30days30ways challenge is open to everyone.

Leading the charge on this year's challenge will be ex-MasterChef alumni and model mum Sarah Todd (@sarahtodd) with her drool-worthy snack ideas; dietitians Rebecca Gawthorne (@nourish_naturally) and Rachel Scoular (@healthyhappyhabits) will share healthy nut tips; and Kimberley Welman (@staystrongmummy) and Amy Whiteford (@healthylittlefoodies) who have great nut snacks for the whole family that will help keep you motivated all month.

Watch the hashtag #nuts30days30ways on Instagram for all their nutty snacking ideas and share yours too.

You can join the #nuts30days30ways challenge in three easy steps, here's how…
1. Eat a handful of nuts every day during September.
2. Follow #nuts30days30ways on Instagram for daily inspiration.
3. Share your nut snacks with the hashtag #nuts30days30ways to go into the draw for great prizes. For all the details follow @nuts_for_life on Instagram


Interview with Belinda Neville, Dietitian

To give you a low down on nutty nutrition, Nuts for Life dietitian Belinda Neville answers five of the most Googled nut nutrition myths and questions. Here's what she has to say…

Question: What's healthier raw nuts or roasted nuts?

Belinda Neville: They're both great.

Several large population studies show both roasted and raw nuts reduce the risk of heart disease.

In fact, eating either a handful (30g) of raw or roasted nuts at least five times a week can reduce heart disease risk by 30-50% and both also help to lower bad (LDL) cholesterol.

While you can easily buy dry roasted nuts, even those roasted in oil are fine as very little oils is absorbed during the roasting process.

The only real difference between raw and roasted nuts is that roasted nuts contain less B group vitamins. These vitamins are not heat stable and some are lost during the roasting process. It's not a worry though, as in general, Australians get most of their B group vitamins from grains and cereals.

Take out: thumbs up to raw and roasted nuts.

Question: Will eating nuts make me fat?

Belinda Neville: No. Nuts are the perfect go-to snack if you are watching your weight, with a large number of studies showing nuts eaters weigh less.

This myth came about because nuts are a rich source of healthy monounsaturated fats, but these fats actually switch on some of the satiety hormones in your gut reducing hunger pangs.

Here's five more ways nuts help to keep you lean:
1. Crunching on nuts sends signals to your brain – the more you crunch, the less you eat,
2. They're high in protein, fibre and healthy fats to keep you fuller for longer and help control your appetite,
3. Not all the fat from nuts is absorbed by the body
4. They boost metabolism by 5-10%, and
5. Nuts are yummy, making it easier to stick to a diet that includes snacking on nuts.

Take out: myth busted. Nut eaters weigh less.

Question: Should I only eat 8 or 10 nuts as a snack? How many nuts can you eat?

Belinda Neville: To get the many health benefits nuts provide, you should aim to eat 30g of nuts every day – that's at least a handful. So how many nuts are in a handful? It varies for each variety but as a guide:

20 almonds
10 Brazil nuts
15 cashews
4 chestnuts
20 hazelnuts
15 macadamias
15 pecans
2 tablespoons of pine nuts
30 pistachio kernels
10 walnut halves
a handful of mixed nuts

Take out: enjoy a handful of your favourite nuts every day and don't stress about portions, more is ok too.

Question: Are activated nuts better for you?

Belinda Neville: There's been a lot of fuss made about activated nuts, especially activated almonds. These are nuts that are soaked in water, usually overnight, to help make the nutrients more digestible.

It's thought the soaking may also reduce phytates, a plant seed compound that binds minerals together and makes it difficult for the body to absorb the minerals in the nuts, such as iron, calcium and zinc. So hypothetically, by activating nuts, we should be able to absorb these minerals better. However, no research has been done to show what effect, if any, soaking has on nuts.

We also should not give phytates a bad rap. They actually have their own long list of health benefits. Phytates have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, appear to have anti-cancerous properties, and may help carbohydrate metabolism and glucose control. They also improve bone mineral loss and may even reduce kidney stones.

Take out: activated or not, nuts are great for your health. Enjoy them however you prefer, just aim for a handful a day.

Question: Can you eat nuts when you are pregnant or breastfeeding?

Belinda Neville: Providing you don't have a nut allergy, nuts are safe to eat during pregnancy and when breastfeeding. They actually make a perfect nutrient-dense snack, during this time when your body is craving more and more nutrients.

There is a myth that women should avoid nuts during pregnancy and breastfeeding, as some women have been advised it may reduce the risk of their baby developing allergies, but there is no good evidence to support this.

In fact, several large population studies have shown just the opposite – eating nuts during pregnancy may help reduce the baby's risk of a nut allergy.

The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy recommends against restricting your diet when you are pregnant or breast feeding, as this can have a negative impact on the nutrition and weight of both you and your baby.