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Superfood Spotlight: Pecans Are Having A Moment (Here's Why)

March 14, 2024
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Image by APPB / Contributor
March 14, 2024

A "superfood" is a nutrient-dense food that includes essential vitamins and minerals—and pecans are a model example. Pecans are a good source of fiber and low in carbs, which makes them an easy and nutritious addition to any diet. But most people are unaware of the surprising health benefits that come along with this deliciously buttery and naturally sweet nut. 

The perfect combination of crunchy, creamy, and chewy, pecans have rightfully earned their spot as a beloved holiday staple. However, beyond the pies and festive charcuterie spreads, pecans make the perfect snack at any time of year—satisfying cravings with their natural sweetness while maintaining energy levels. They're also great in salads, adding a complementary flavor to savory meals. 

Keep reading to find out exactly why we love pecans—as well as the many ways you can eat them every day. 

Nutrition powerhouses 

Pecans are often overlooked as a health-promoting food, but the macronutrient profile speaks for itself. With each 1-oz. serving of pecans, you get a whopping 3 grams of protein, 4 grams of carbohydrates, and 18 grams of monounsaturated fat, including oleic acid (and only 2 grams of saturated fat). One handful (about 19 halves) provides a good source of fiber, thiamin, and zinc and an excellent source of copper and manganese—a mineral that's essential for metabolism and bone health. 

Each 1-oz. serving of pecans contains 3 grams of fiber, which equates to 11% daily value of dietary fiber. For all of these reasons and more, they've earned a regular spot on our shelf. 

A snacking staple 

Convenience keeps the processed food industry alive—but even in a pinch, junk food shouldn't be the answer. Pecans are an easy and tasty replacement, with protein to help keep you fueled throughout the day. We love them raw, but don't be afraid to pop them in the oven or roast them on the stovetop.

There are literally dozens of ways to roast pecans. Whether plain, spiced, smoky, or garlicky, this nourishing nut shines in a myriad of flavor profiles. Prep them ahead of time so you can grab whichever flavor you're in the mood for—or if you want to keep things really interesting, add them to a snack mix like this Honey Ginger Blend—it's next level. 

Image by Julie Rideout / Stocksy

6 ways to enjoy pecans

As pecans' No. 1 fans, we don't just save them for snack time. A nut this spectacular deserves extra attention, so we've put together some creative ways to sneak them in throughout the day—but just remember, the list doesn't end here:   

1. Sprinkle them onto your breakfast

Pecans add the perfect crunch to a variety of breakfast bowls—from chia pudding to overnight oats to yogurt parfaits and more. Start the day on a nutritious note. 

2. Enjoy them as a nut butter spread

Nut butters are easier to make than you may think—and who doesn't love a good nut butter. Pro tip: Try dipping apple slices into pecan butter. Chef's kiss.

3. Sip them as a "milk"

Rich and creamy, pecans make a very tasty nut milk. Sip it plain, use it as the base in a smoothie, or add it to coffee for a uniquely smooth finish. 

4. Mix them into a salad

Pecans are the glow-up every salad needs. Adding a handful of roasted pecans can transform a salad and add a satisfying crunch—but if you don't believe us, try it for yourself. 

5. Bake them into a dessert

Pecans add a healthy twist to any dessert; you don't have to wait until pie season. They're particularly delicious in cookies, cinnamon rolls, and superfood bark

6. Use them in a meat alternative

The unique texture of pecans mimics the mouthfeel of meat, which makes it an ideal ingredient for plant-based products like "meat" crumbles or burgers—for vegans and omnivores alike!

A love letter to pecans

To say we're nuts for pecans is an understatement. They're always there for us no matter what the day brings, and the best part is they can be stored in the refrigerator for up to nine months and up to two years in the freezer. So, there's really no reason not to always have them on hand. You won't regret it!

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