In Honor of National Almond Day, February 16!

National Almond Day may be only one day a year, but there are so many reasons to celebrate almonds year-round. That’s why we have teamed up with nutritionist Keri Gans to create a month of tips and subtle lifestyle that can lead to long-lasting healthy habits. Gans, nutritionist and author of “The Small Change Diet,” knows a thing or two about minor diet tweaks that make a major difference: “The right snack has the power to help ward off bad cravings in between meals and can make-or-break a healthy diet,” says Gans. “Almonds have all the components that are necessary for a satisfying snack that keeps you fueled throughout the day.”
It’s practically common knowledge that a handful of almonds are a nutritious snack, but there is more than one way to crunch an almond! Whether it is a scoop of almond butter in a smoothie or sliced almonds in your Greek yogurt, our “Snack Swaps with Almonds” will help you tap into the benefits of our favorite nut. 
To really celebrate National Almond Day (February 16),  we’ll be posting a new Snack Swap every day in February on Instagram (@californiaalmonds) offering a new tip designed to help everyone make smarter snacking choices. Each day, one of our followers who “Like” the daily “Snack Swap” post will win a “Snack Swap” prize package1  (28 winners in all).  
The “Snack Swap” prize package will include:
One pound of almonds
One jar of almond butter 
One bag of rolled oats
One bag of dried cranberries 
One bag of semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
One almond tin
Sample week-long snack plan from Keri Gans, plus additional ABC recipes
To never miss a “Snack Swap,” remember to “Like” California Almonds on Facebook , follow on Twitter and Instagram (@californiaalmonds), and check out our page on Pinterest.
Can’t wait?  Check out a sneak peak of our “Snack Swaps” below:
Instead of a flavored or pre-mixed Greek yogurt (which can be packed with sugar), buy plain low-fat yogurt and add your own fresh fruit, slivered almonds, and powdered chocolate—or whatever will help satisfy your cravings without over doing it. Perfect for sweet cravings! 
The right snack can fuel your work out. Pair a slice of 100 percent whole wheat bread with 2 tablespoons of almond butter to boost energy.
If you’re buying an energy bar, read the label and look for more fiber and protein, less calories and saturated fat.
Craving something sweet in the mid-afternoon? You might be surprised how much a decaf latte made with unsweetened almond milk and topped with cinnamon and chocolate powder can do the trick.
Need more reasons to include almonds in your healthy eating routine? A recent study among 32 healthy, normal weight, Caucasian women suggests that a mid-morning snack of almonds helped control appetite and resulted in reduced calorie intake during the rest of the day. The study looked at the one-day effects of eating 1 ounce and 1.5 ounces of almonds compared to no morning snack on ratings of appetite and fullness and overall calorie intake at lunch and dinner. The women in the study felt the least hungry and ate significantly fewer calories at lunch and dinner when consuming the 1.5 ounce almond snack. What’s more, despite eating approximately 170 or 260 calories (1-1.5 ounces) from almonds, there were no differences in total daily calorie intake, indicating that they naturally compensated for the additional calories consumed earlier in the day. Although this study is short-term and did not account for habitual almond intake, control for overall macronutrient intake or compare to another snack, it suggests that a serving of almonds can be a smart snack option.
About Keri Gans
Keri Gans is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist, Spokesperson and Media Personality with a private practice in New York City. She is the author of The Small Change Diet (Gallery, March 2011) and an Advisory Board Member of Shape Magazine. Keri holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York University and Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Ohio University.
Keri spends the majority of her time conducting individual nutrition counseling, public speaking, writing, consulting, engaging in social media and blogging bi-monthly for  U.S. News’ Eat + Run.  Keri is frequently quoted as the nutrition expert in local and national publications, such as Glamour, Fitness, Shape, Self, Women’s Health, and Health; and has made several television appearances including, EXTRA, The Dr. Oz Show, ABC News, Fox Business The Willis Report, WPIX11 Morning Show, Primetime, and Good Morning America. 
Keri has been voted twice by Huffington Post as one of the top 35 Nutrition and Diet Experts to follow on Twitter. She is the proud winner of the New York State Dietetic Association’s 2010 Media Excellence Award and 2006 Emerging Dietetic Leader Award.
Keri lives with her husband Bart and four-legged son, Henry, in NYC and East Hampton and is an avid yoga practitioner.  

Try our recipes below for more ways to snack on almonds!

Almond Energy Bars

Serves 10
1 cup almonds
1 1/2 cups rolled oats 
1 cup dried cranberries 
1/4 cup honey (or substitute maple syrup or agave syrup)
1/4 cup almond butter
Place almonds, oats and cranberries in a bowl. Warm honey and almond butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir and pour over oat and almond mixture and mix together. 
Once mixed, transfer to a dish and flatten. Cover with plastic wrap and let set in refrigerator for 20 minutes or overnight to harden. Remove from pan and cut into 10 even bars. Store in an airtight container and enjoy for up to five days.  

Sweet N' Crunchy Trail Mix

Serves 4
1 cup almonds
2/3 cup dried cranberries 
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup dried apricots, diced
1/2 cup dried banana or apple chips (optional)
1/3 cup roasted sunflower seeds (optional) 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spread almonds in a single layer in shallow pan and toast, 8-12 minutes, stirring once halfway through, until lightly toasted. Remove pan from oven to cool. Toss with remaining ingredients until well mixed and store in airtight containers for up to one week. 

Robust Raspberry Almond Smoothie

Serves 6
2 cups almond milk
1 12-ounce package frozen raspberries
2 medium bananas, cut into chunks
2–3 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3 tablespoons almond butter
1/2 cup vanilla soy ice cream
12 fresh raspberries (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a blender; whirl until smooth. Pour into 6 glasses and garnish with fresh raspberries if desired.