Celebrate the joy of Christmas this year, with almonds

Almonds

December 2019, India: Christmas, one of the most awaited celebrations of the year is almost here! As the aura of Christmas slowly takes over the world around us, we can’t stop thinking of all the ways in which we want to celebrate it with our loved ones.

While Christmas is exciting for a number of reasons – snowflakes, presents, and caroling – but the variety of scrumptious and delicious food that’s yet to come our way is what most of us look forward to. With almonds, you can enjoy a merry and yet healthy Christmas this year, by having made more conscious and informed food choices.

Almonds are indeed a gift of good health which you can give yourself this Christmas. Known to be a rich source of a host of essential nutrients including vitamin E, protein, iron, riboflavin, manganese and folate amongst others, almonds are a nutritious and healthy snack.

Leading Bollywood actress Soha Ali Khan said, “My family, particularly my daughter, loves Christmas simply because it gives her an opportunity to indulge in sweet delicacies. To avoid overindulgence, I keep a box of flavored or coated almonds handy around the house, so all of us munch on healthier snacks during the season.”

According to Fitness enthusiast and Supermodel, Milind Soman, “Christmas is a great time to exchange gifts with the people we love. I personally believe in sharing gifts which will help in adding to their health. That’s why I prefer gifting almonds to my friends and family. They are a good source of several important nutrients like vitamin E, B12, iron, etc. and are a versatile ingredient that can be used for many food preparations – especially Christmas inspired recipes. Added to that, global research also suggests that daily consumption of almonds may have a positive impact on type 2 diabetes, heart health and weight management. They truly are a gift of good health.”

During Christmas time, the never-ending potlucks with friends and family make us indulge in rich, and calorie-laden food, which can take a toll on our health and fitness. A healthy substitute is what we need at this time. Research studies also suggest, that nuts like almonds not only offer goodness in every bite but can also help manage your heart’s health and weight better.

Regional Head-Dietetics, Max Healthcare – Delhi, Ritika Samaddar added, “Come Christmas time and year-end, a lot of us tend to freely consume sweets, without thinking of the repercussions it might have on our health. Opting for dishes that include nuts like almonds will ensure you add a dose of good health to your meals, even during the celebrations. This will also have a beneficial impact in the long term. A recent study highlighted that in addition to significantly improving LDL cholesterol, snacking on 42 grams of almonds every day also reduced central adiposity (belly fat) and waist circumference, all well-established heart disease risk factors .”

Adding to this, Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, Sheela Krishnaswamy said, “Festivals, in general, are a time for merriment and parties. It is also a time when many of us tend to neglect our diet and fitness schedule. An easy way to counter this is to opt for healthier snacks like roasted or flavored almonds, fresh fruit or oatmeal which will help keep you satiated without adding empty calories.”

Nutritional benefits aside, almonds are crunchy nuts that can be paired with almost any food item. Christmas offers the opportunity to refresh your cooking style and try out newer recipes that are delicious and healthy.

Pilates Expert and Diet & Nutrition Consultant, Madhuri Ruia said, “Almonds are a versatile ingredient that can easily be added to any sweet or savory Christmas recipe. You could add them to your gluten-free cakes, or biscuits – or even create party snacks like barbeque, or cinnamon glazed almonds to spice up your festive spread.”

Almonds can make it a gratifying time for you and your loved ones during Christmas. Here’s a recipe of Spice Almond Banana Jaggery Cake to add to the Christmas cheer!

Spiced Almond Banana Jaggery Cake

Ingredients                      Quantity
Butter, unsalted                   1/2 cup
Jaggery powder                   1/2 cup cinnamon
Ground                               1 ½ tsp
Nutmeg ground                   1/4 tsp
Almonds, sliced                   1/2 cup
Sugar                                 3/4 cup
Eggs, large                         3 no
Orange zest                        2 tsp
Banana ripped & mashed     1 1/4 cups
All-purpose flour                 3 cups
Baking powder                    1 1/2 tsp
Baking soda                        1 tsp
Salt                                    1/2 tsp
Buttermilk                           2/3 cup

Method:

• Melt 1/4 cup of the butter. Pour 2 tablespoons of the melted butter into an 8-cup pan; brush the butter over pan sides and bottom. Mix together the jaggery, cinnamon, nutmeg, and almonds. Sprinkle bottom of the pan with half the jaggery mixture; combine the remaining mixture with the remaining melted butter; set aside.

• In a large bowl, beat the remaining 1/4 cup butter with granulated sugar until blended. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, until blended. Beat in the mashed banana.

• Mix all-purpose, baking powder, soda, and salt. Add to banana mixture along with the buttermilk; stir until well blended.

• Pour half the batter into prepared pan. Spoon remaining jaggery sugar mixture evenly over top; cover with remaining batter.

• Bake in a 180° oven until a long wood skewer inserted into the thickest part of the cake comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Cool the cake on a rack for about 5 minutes, then invert cake onto a serving plate. Serve the cake warm or cool.

Nutritional Analysis

Calories                  3967         Protein g                 75.4
Total fat g               126.1       Saturated g              60.8
Monounsaturated g  41.2         Polyunsaturated g     12.1
Carbohydrates g      613.3       Fiber g                     23.5
Cholesterol mg        778          Sodium mg              3344.2
Calcium mg             1306        Magnesium mg         678.2
Potassium mg         3392.2      Vitamin E IU             16.8

Almonds from California are natural, wholesome and quality food. The Almond Board of California promotes almonds through its research-based approach to all aspects of marketing, farming, and production on behalf of the more than 6,800 almond growers and processors in California, many of which are multi-generational family operations. Established in 1950 and based in Modesto, California, the Almond Board of California is a non-profit organization that administers a grower-enacted Federal Marketing Order under the supervision of the United States Department of Agriculture. For more information on the Almond Board of California or almonds, visit www.almonds.in

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