Dawn Minty: Guilt-free Georgia pecans

September 19, 2012 

A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests eating a low-glycemic diet can help people lose weight.

Also referred to as the glycemic index diet and GI diet, it is the basis for many popular diet plans, such as South Beach, Nutrisystem and The Zone.

The glycemic index measures carbohydrates. The index is a list of how blood sugar levels rise after you eat a small portion of a carbohydrate food.

Essentially the diet advocates eating vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains and nuts and limiting pastas, breads and sugars.

Pecans were listed as a healthy snack. The folks at the Georgia Pecan Commission were happy to hear that.

"Serving up Georgia pecans is like having a surprise party on your plate," says Densie Webb, Ph.D., R.D., co-author of "The Dish on Eating Healthy and Being Fabulous!" They're surprisingly versatile, surprisingly nutritious and surprisingly good for you. When I'm asked if it's okay to eat nuts on a weight-loss diet, a heart-healthy diet or a diet to lower high blood pressure, my answer is always yes, yes and yes!"

Here are a couple of recipes courtesy of the Georgia Pecan Commission. Find more by visiting www.AntioxiNUT.org.

Toasted Georgia Pecan Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

2 cups 1 percent reduced-fat milk

1 cup quinoa

1/3 cup dried cranberries or raisins

1 tablespoon butter

1/3 cup chopped Georgia pecans, toasted

1 tablespoon honey or brown sugar

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Toppings: Chopped Georgia pecans, toasted; milk, honey or brown sugar

Bring milk to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in quinoa, cranberries and butter. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes or until quinoa is tender and liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat. Stir in 1/3 cup chopped toasted Georgia Pecans and next 3 ingredients.

Spoon quinoa mixture evenly into four bowls. Top each serving with additional chopped toasted Georgia pecans, milk, honey or brown sugar, as desired. Serves 4.

Nutrition Profile (without toppings): 350 calories, 14 grams total fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 70 mg sodium, 48 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 12 g protein.

Cumin-Spice Georgia Pecans

1 cup Georgia pecans, toasted

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon toasted ground cumin seed

1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Pinch cayenne

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Toast pecans in oven for 10 minutes. They should be slightly darker than raw and have a little crispness to them. Let cool then toss in a bowl with the remaining ingredients. Add more or less cayenne, to taste.

Dawn Minty can be reached at dminty@ledger-enquirer.com and 706-571-8512. Read her blog at ledger-enquirer.com/dawn for more recipes and food ideas.

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