Nuts are, surprisingly, a major part of our every day diets. From snacking to sauces, nutty nutrition is being implemented everywhere. Nuts are a great source of protein and fats, but not those scary fried food type of fats; the good fats such as omega 3, which is linked to lowering cholesterol (and keeping your heart happy and healthy!). Nuts and pulses are also the main staple of these nutrients for those of us who are vegetarian, especially to add iron and B vitamins into your diet.
Over the last few years, it seems we’ve all gone a bit nutty (sorry!) about the benefits of nuts and they are now a major part of the health food industry. Ditching the chocolate bar for a protein bar? Cow’s milk for almond milk? The radicalisation of the “clean eating” trend has also influenced what we count as basic cupboard supplies, which as a nation is making us gradually reduce prevalence of diseases, such as heart disease and obesity.
However, unfortunately a fair few of us cannot enjoy the benefits of nuts. Over 21 million adults in the UK suffer from at least one allergy and unfortunately, peanut and tree nut allergy is the most common. For the majority of people, nut allergies are mild and one should just simply avoid consumption, but for 1 in 5 nut allergy sufferers, things are more serious.
Anaphylaxis is a dangerous condition where an allergy sufferer can suffer from asthma, throat swelling and a low drop in blood pressure in a matter of minutes, so suffers must carry an auto-adrenaline injector with them at all times. Sadly, due to incorrect labelling, cross contamination and accidental consumption, many people suffer from allergic reactions each year, but luckily, most make a full recovery.
Especially for those who are newly diagnosed, knowing what to eat and what to avoid can be tricky. Ditching the Reese’s peanut butter cups and the Chinese takeaway can be a little bit heart breaking, but finding alternatives for your pleasures is not as hard as you may think. With a little bit of creativity, anything is possible! Ditching the takeaways and cooking homemade, fresh meals is not only safer, but healthier, tastiest and cheaper – what more could a student want? Learning to cook and add new, personal twists to recipes is also really fun, and can be a great way of socialising with friends.
To get you started, here are the top alternatives for keeping it nutritious in a nut free world:
1. Bounty Coconut Spread (cupboard essentials)
Now before you all get a little confused, coconut isn’t technically a nut – it’s a “fibrous one seeded drupe”, so is often called a nut, fruit or even a seed. Surprisingly, most nut allergy suffers CAN actually eat coconut (but definitely check with your doctor first!). Bounty spread is the perfect alternative for peanut butter. This spread does contain added sugar, but who can resist the concept of bounty on toast!?
2. NatureCrops Strawberry + Dark Chocolate Quinoa Bars (on the go)
Fed up of not being able to eat quest, nakd and bounce ball bars? Hidden on the shelves in Holland and Barrett, these healthy vegan snack bars are not only packed with protein but taste absolutely divine.
3. Tahini (cupboard essentials)
Deliciously Ella loves it, and you should too. The “nutty” paste is actually blended sunflower seeds and makes your roasted veg, sauces and even homemade Chinese POP with flavour. It’s also rich in minerals and an excellent source of calcium.
4. Oat LY (cupboard essentials)
Want a vegan, nut free milk option, but hate the bland taste of rice milk? Oat LY is simply oat milk, which can be used in smoothies, drinks and cereals. It’s also low fat and low calorie, whilst maintaining a sweet taste. Secret tip – oat milk and oats makes the creamiest, dreamiest porridge, definitely it a try.
5. Yogurt Covered Raisins (on the go)
Snacking on nuts when you’re maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a must, so it can be frustrating when you can only turn to the crisps and chocolate. But alas, there is a healthy alternative out there – yogurt covered raisins, cranberries and even ginger are readily available at most supermarkets and are cheap, nutritious and tasty.
Emma is a Registered Dietitian and Registered Associate Nutritionist based in Cheshire, England. Emma works in community healthcare and writes freelance alongside her work: topics including Dietetic life, nutrition, mental health and lifestyle. Emma also writes and photographs recipes for the platform, as well as being the author of the ‘Mummy and Me’ series for SR Nutrition. Emma’s Food Stories is PR friendly brand.