Healthy Recipe Series
One of the biggest questions in terms of healthy meals is how to replace your favorite breakfast. It seems impossible to find a healthy alternative. It does not have to be that way, though!
We are here to present you with some great alternatives, starting with our delicious NutNola. In a previous post, we shared the recipe for nut milk, and what can go better with homemade nut milk than NutNola?
As the name says, NutNola is our version of granola, but with no grains or sugar, super delicious and healthy! NutNola can be enjoyed as a breakfast, with nut milk or coconut yogurt, and with some berries or other toppings that we all love! We highly suggest some cinnamon and mixed berries! It can also be enjoyed as a snack, plain and simple.
As the name hints, the main ingredients in our NutNola are the nuts! But also seeds. We have discussed the health benefits of diverse nuts before, but it is never too much to highlight them again! The base nuts for the NutNola are almonds, walnuts, and pecans. We will also highlight the health benefits and nutritional value of pumpkin seeds and of one of the most flavorful ingredients, cinnamon!
Read all the amazing health benefits of our delicious NutNola, then get ready for some food preparation! 😊
Almonds, walnuts, and pecans
We have introduced you to the health benefits of all these nuts in previous recipes, so here are just some of the combined highlights!
Nutritional Profile and Health Benefits of Almonds, Walnuts, and Pecans1,2,3,4,5,6,7
- Rich sources of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, powerful phytochemicals, and antioxidants. Amazing as energy sources, along with protein, fatty acids, and fiber.
- Good sources of mono-unsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) like oleic and palmitoleic acids, contributing to a healthy blood lipid profile. Walnuts are an excellent source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid, linoleic acid, and arachidonic acid.
- Their lipid profile contributes to healthy blood lipid levels, by lowering LDL or “bad cholesterol” and increasing HDL or “good cholesterol”.
- Excellent source of vitamin E, a powerful fat-soluble antioxidant.
- Contain various important phytochemicals with antioxidant action, such as the polyphenolic compounds, vitamin-E, carotenoids, melatonin, ellagic acid, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which help prevent free radical damage.
- Good source of B-complex vitamins that work in conjunction as cofactors for enzymes in cellular metabolism.
- Very good source of most minerals such as manganese, copper, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, calcium, and selenium.
Pumpkin seeds (Cucurbita pepo)
Pumpkin seeds are the edible kernels of the pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo). Pumpkin is botanically a fruit, and the seeds are great sources of energy and fiber, essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and powerful antioxidants.
Nutritional Profile and Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds8,9
- Exceptional source of energy, especially from protein and fat.
- Rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) like oleic acid, which contributes to a healthy blood lipid profile.
- Great source of plant protein (30 grams of protein per 100 grams of seeds) and the amino acids tryptophan and glutamate. Tryptophan plays an important role in sleep and glutamate is used for the synthesis of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA is a natural chemical produced by the brain, that contributes to reducing fear, anxiety, and stress, producing a calming effect
- Excellent source of Vitamin E (approximately 237% of RDA), a powerful fat-soluble antioxidant, that protects from free radical damage.
- Good source of certain B-complex vitamins, such as thiamin (B-1) and niacin (B-3), which play a crucial role in cellular metabolism.
- Rich source of several minerals, such as manganese, magnesium, copper, potassium, iron, selenium, and zinc.
Cinnamon (Cinnamomum sp.)
Cinnamon is a sweet-flavored spice that has been used for centuries for its flavor, fragrance, and medicinal and culinary properties. Cinnamon is obtained from the inner brown bark of Cinnamomum trees, belonging to the family of Lauraceae or Laurel, native to some Asian countries.
Nutritional Profile and Health Benefits of Cinnamon10,11
- This spice is known for its bioactive compounds, boosting with health benefits: antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and anti-diabetic, among others.
- Highest antioxidant strength (calculated as ORAC – oxygen radical absorbance capacity) of all the food sources in nature! Many hundred times more than apples, for example.
- Contains flavonoid antioxidants carotenes, zeaxanthin, lutein, cryptoxanthin, and lycopene.
- Excellent source of minerals like manganese, iron, calcium, and copper. Both manganese and copper work as cofactors for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
- Good levels of vitamin E, K, A, and Pyridoxine (B6).
- Cinnamon contains powerful essential oils:
- Eugenol (pleasant, sweet aromatic fragrance; local anesthetic and antiseptic properties)
- Cinnamaldehyde (anticoagulant – prevent blood clotting)
- Ethyl cinnamate
- Methyl chavicol
- Good for digestion and elimination, especially because it helps increase the secretion of gastrointestinal enzymes.
Do you have your homemade nut milk or coconut yogurt in the fridge? It is time to assemble the necessary ingredients for our super delicious NutNola and start preparing it. Soon you will be able to enjoy an amazing breakfast or midday snack. Top with some berries or low sugar fruits and ENJOY!
- Makes: 2 cups • Prep time: 10 minutes • Total time: 16-18 hours
For the base:
- ½ cup almonds
- ½ cup walnuts
- ½ cup pecans
- ½ cup coconut flakes (unsweetened)
- 2 Tbsp pumpkin seeds
- 2 Tbsp hemp seeds
For the coating:
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 Medjool date, pitted
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp vanilla
- Pinch of salt
- Place all nuts in a food processor and pulse a few times. Add seeds and coconut flakes, pulse again.
- In a blender, combine the coating ingredients and blend until smooth. Feel free to add some “superfood” powders to the mix, like maca or reishi powder.
- Pour the coating over the nut mixture and pulse to combine. Spread mixture onto a Teflex sheet and dehydrate at 110 °F for 16-18 hours.
- Serve over coconut yogurt or topped with your favorite nut milk.
Store in an airtight container for up to one month.
- United States Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central. Search Results. Nuts, almonds. Published April 1, 2019. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170567/nutrients, accessed Sep 13, 2022.
- Nutrition and You. Almonds Nutrition Facts. https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/almonds.html, accessed Sep 13, 2022.
- United States Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central. Search Results. Nuts, walnuts, english. Published April 1, 2019. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170187/nutrients, accessed Sep 13, 2022.
- Nutrition and You. Walnuts Nutrition Facts. https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/walnuts.html, accessed Sep 13, 2022.
- California Walnuts. Nutrition Information. https://walnuts.org/nutrition/nutrition-information/, accessed Sep 13, 2022.
- United States Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central. Search Results. Nuts, pecans. Published April 1, 2019. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170182/nutrients, accessed Sep 13, 2022.
- Nutrition and You. Pecans Nutrition Facts. https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/pecans.html, accessed Sep 13, 2022.
- United States Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central. Search Results. Seeds, pumpkin and squash seed kernels, dried. Published April 1, 2019. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170556/nutrients, accessed Sep 13, 2022.
- Nutrition and You. Pumpkin Seeds Nutrition Facts. https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/pumpkin-seeds.html, accessed Sep 13, 2022.
- United States Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central. Search Results. Spices, cinnamon, ground. Published April 1, 2019. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171320/nutrients, accessed Sep 22, 2022.
- Nutrition and You. Cinnamon Spice Nutrition Facts. https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/cinnamon-spice.html, accessed Sep 22, 2022.
Vanessa Pinto graduated with a degree in Biology and Masters in Ecology from Lisbon University. After graduating, she underwent a series of professional and personal growth experiences, including being an officer in the Portuguese Army, working in countries as diverse as Iceland and Costa Rica. Vanessa became certified as a Yoga and Meditation teacher in rural India.
Being a compassionate person by nature, Vanessa is able to bring her connectedness when working with others while enhancing the importance and practicality of a pragmatic evidence-based approach to facilitating lasting and permanent change. Vanessa is a certified health coach whose specialties are nutrition, exercise, and mind/ body connection. She works both in Portugal, Thailand and USA, where she develops her work closely with people diagnosed with cancer, mainly in the areas of nutrition, movement and health education.