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(Family Features) - This season, changing your diet and eating better is easier than you think. Acclaimed author Dave Grotto, RD, LDN, can show you how optimal food selections, both good-for-you and delicious, can help you stay on track for a healthier lifestyle.

In his newest book, "101 Optimal Life Foods," Grotto offers nutritional solutions for common health ailments and overall good health. Grotto suggests nutritious foods and recipes to help energize the body, improve circulation and support reproductive health, healthy sleep and optimal brain function.

"The right diet can help you feel and look your best," says Grotto. "Incorporating natural whole foods like almonds, whole soy, bananas and blueberries into your meals and snacks will provide energy and overall wellness."

The key to making a nutritional routine simple and sustainable is to include flavorful recipes and optimal snack options that you enjoy and that help you feel your best. For Grotto, almonds are a perfect optimal food - they make meals and snacks work harder by adding nutrients and a satisfying crunch.

  • Just a handful of almonds a day provides 6 grams of protein and 3.5 grams of fiber and may help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
  • The primary fat in almonds is monounsaturated, with one ounce containing a total of 13 grams unsaturated fat, all with only one gram of saturated fat and no cholesterol.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recognized almonds with a health claim in 2003, stating, "Scientific evidence suggests, but does not prove, that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, such as almonds, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease."

For a convenient on-the-go snack, keep almonds in a portable tin or resealable container. Grotto recommends keeping them in a desk drawer or a car's cup holder to fight hunger and avoid less optimal temptations.

For more almond recipes and information about almonds, visit To get you started, try these fresh and simple Chile Honey Almond Chicken Kebabs that are featured in Grotto's book.

Turkey Pitas with Fiery Almond Sauce recipe

(Family Features) - It takes energy to endure a hectic, non-stop day. Whether you need to get through tough deadlines, long meetings, daily workouts or family-packed days, protein and fiber can give you the energy you need to win.

One of the easiest ways to get that protein is by eating almonds. "Almonds are the ultimate fitness nut," says Mitzi Dulan, RD, CSSD. Dulan, an expert in the field of nutrition, exercise and wellness, says that almonds help fuel everyday life because they're convenient, tasty and can go anywhere you do. "Almonds are the perfect on-the-go food to help you power through a grueling workout, or work day for that matter."
  • Just a handful of almonds has 6 grams of protein which helps you sustain energy and minimize cravings throughout the day
  • Almonds are cholesterol free, low in saturated fat and a good source of dietary fiber (3.5g). Eating a handful of almonds a day (about 23) in place of foods higher in saturated fat can help you maintain a healthy cholesterol level without weight gain*
  • When compared ounce for ounce, almonds are the tree nut highest in protein (6 g), fiber (3.5 g), calcium (75 mg), vitamin E (7.4 mg), riboflavin (0.3 mg), and niacin (1 mg). Talk about a small package packing a powerful punch

It's easy to work almonds into your busy day:

7:00 a.m. After a morning workout.
Grab a handful of whole natural almonds to give your body a post-workout energy boost.

11:00 a.m. The late morning snack attack.
Keep a re-sealable bag of flavored almonds in your desk to help ward off the desire to ambush your coworker's candy bowl or visit the vending machines.

12:30 p.m. Lunchtime's here.
Toss a handful of slivered or sliced almonds over your salad or pack a power lunch with a Turkey Pita with Fiery Almond Sauce (recipe below).

9:00 p.m. Evening munchies.
Munching on a handful of flavored almonds can satisfy your craving without undoing your whole day of eating right and exercise. Or mix-in whole or sliced almonds into fat-free frozen yogurt or your favorite whole grain cereal.
For more almond recipes and ideas, visit  Try this power-packed pita to get you started.

*Good news about almonds and heart health. Scientific evidence suggests, but does not prove, that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, such as almonds, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease. One serving of almonds (28g) has 13g of unsaturated fat and only 1g of saturated fat.

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Simple Nutritional Solutions with Optimal Foods

Chile Honey Almond Chicken Kebabs Recipe

  • 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken tenders
  • 2 cups almond milk or buttermilk
  • 1 cup roasted almonds
  • 3/4 cup dry whole wheat bread crumbs, unseasoned (from 2 slices whole wheat bread)
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 10 skewers (metal or wood)


  1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Trim chicken thighs of visible fat and tendons. Cut each tender in half. Place pieces in a large shallow dish, add almond milk and stir to coat. Cover, and refrigerate 30 minutes, or up to 2 hours. In a food processor, grind together almonds, bread crumbs, paprika, salt, garlic powder and onion powder. Place in a flat rectangular pan.
  2. Strain almond milk from chicken through a colander, discarding liquid. Thread approximately 4 chicken pieces onto each skewer. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs and Dijon mustard until smooth. Place in a flat rectangular pan. Place each skewer into the egg mixture and turn to coat well. Remove from mixture, allowing excess to drip off, and place in the bread crumb-almond mixture. Spoon mixture over each skewer to coat pieces well. Remove skewers from the crumb mixture and place on a baking rack set on top of a non-stick rimmed baking sheet (or spray baking sheet with cooking spray). Bake for 30 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked and crust is browned. Serve kebabs warm.

Servings 10

Almond Board of California