Apparently incorporating nuts into your diet is not likely to result in weight gain. From Consumer Reports on Health:
“Nuts are high in fat, and at one time anything high in fat was viewed as problematic for weight gain and heart disease. But epidemiological evidence almost unanimously shows that people who consume nuts more frequently weigh less than people who don’t. Those findings were surprising, and prompted a number of clinical trial. They found that adding peanuts and tree nuts to the diet did not lead to the theoretical change in body weight based on their energy content. There are several likely reasons for this. First, nuts are very satiating, so consequently people eat less food at other times. Second, people often do not chew nuts thoroughly, so somewhere between 5 and 15 percent of the fat they contain is not absorbed. Third, though this is a bit less substantiated by research, consuming nuts regularly may elevate energy expenditure.”
I love nuts, especially almonds. I keep a dish of raw almonds on my kitchen table at all times for the boys and me to snack on. Sometimes I put a dish of roasted, unsalted peanuts out as well. I prefer nuts to be as close to their natural state as possible–no added sugar, no added salt, and raw when possible. I want the boys and I to eat them because we want to eat the nut, not because we’re craving salt or sugar.
When I get an attack of the munchies, I often grab a handful of 4-6 almonds. Surprisingly, that tiny amount of food often takes care of the problem.
Ethan does not eat the almonds, but Sean does, and given how picky an eater he is, they are probably the most significant source of fiber in his diet.