New Holiday Food Traditions

As we head into the holiday season, in addition to talking about how to squeeze in workouts over these busy months, holiday meals to celebrate with family and friends is likely a topic you’ll be talking about with your clients. While we tend to think of holidays as being filled with the same family foods year after year, survey data from Nielsen, a company that tracks consumer trends and insights, found that consumers are shifting away from traditional holiday eating to include more foods and ingredients from different cultures.1

For many, the holidays are no longer one big meal that’s celebrated with family – people attend and host multiple holiday parties with friends just as a reason to get together.  These celebrations with friends can bring together several holiday traditions and have encouraged a variety of cultural cuisines around the holiday dinner table. 

Nielsen data has shown that at Friendsgiving celebrations, for example, over 30 percent of respondents said they were planning to serve side dishes, desserts and even main dishes from other cultures. And 38 percent say that they’ll bring an American dish with a twist of flavor from another culture.

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You can read more about the Nielsen’s findings here.  And encourage your clients to explore new holiday recipes. You’ll find plenty of ideas on our website

Almond Holiday Recipes from Around the World

Send your clients these almond-inspired recipes to add flavors from different countries into their holiday meals.

Mole Enchilada.jpgToasted Almond Poblano Mole Sauce

Sample Tweet: "Holy Mole!  This beloved Mexican dish with #almonds will pack a different kind of flavor to your traditional holiday meals.”


Veggie Biryani.jpgVegetable Biryani

Sample Tweet: Add different culture’s food to your holiday traditions by adding this Indian Vegetable Biryani with #Almonds dish to your #Friendsgiving meal this season!



RESEARCH UPDATE:  Study Shows Snacking On Almonds Decreased Appetite Without Increasing Body Weight

Snacking has become nearly universal behavior in the United States, with an estimated 94 percent of Americans eating at least one snack per day.2 With the trend of increasing snacking frequency and snack size3, combined with continued increases in obesity rates and widespread nutrient shortfalls, it becomes increasingly important to identify snacks that satisfy while still being healthful.  This also comes in especially handy during the holiday season.

A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that study participants eating 1.5 ounces of almonds experienced reduced hunger, improved dietary vitamin E and monounsaturated fat intake without increasing body weight.4

This four-week study led by researchers at Purdue University, investigated the effects of almond snacking on blood sugar levels, weight and appetite among 137 adults who were at increased risk for type 2 diabetes. Participants were divided into five groups:

1.       Control or baseline group that avoided all nuts and seeds and did not have a morning or afternoon snack

2.       Breakfast meal group that ate 1.5 ounces of almonds with daily breakfast

3.       Lunch meal group that ate 1.5 ounces of almonds with daily lunch

4.       Morning snack group that ate 1.5 ounces of almonds between breakfast and lunch, with at least two hours before and after these meals

5.       Afternoon snack group that ate 1.5 ounces of almonds between lunch and dinner, with at least two hours before and after these meals

Participants were not given any other dietary instruction other than to follow their usual eating patterns and physical activity. Compliance was monitored through self-reported dietary intake assessments and fasting vitamin E levels.

Despite consuming approximately 250 additional calories per day from almonds, researchers found that those who included almonds in their meals or ate them as snacks did not have any significant weight gain over the course of the study. Moreover, eating almonds as part of a meal or alone as snacks resulted in lower hunger levels prior to the subsequent meal. Changes in “desire to eat” ratings followed similar patterns with the effect of almonds on appetite ratings most pronounced when they were eaten alone as snacks.

Limitations of the study include its short duration and the subjective measures of hunger, desire to eat and fullness reported by the participants.

Overall, these findings suggest that almonds may be an ideal snack option, especially for those concerned about weight. Snacking can be a weight-wise strategy, depending upon the snack food. The combined positive effects of daily almond consumption seen in participants on hunger and appetite control, and vitamin E and monounsaturated fat intake without any significant impact on body weight, suggests almonds are a smart snack choice that can help support healthy weight management.

Helpful Handouts


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Almond Love

Thanks to everyone who is talking about almonds on social media! Here’s a shout out to a few of our favorite recent almond mentions.

Laura Mak Fitness
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Fuel My Run

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1.    Nielsen Omnibus Survey. Nielsen. 2016.  
2.    Hartman Group. Spotlight on Snacking. March 15, 2015.
3.    Piernas C, Popkin BM. Snacking increased among U.S. adults between 1977 and 2006. J Nutr 2010; 140:325-332
4.    Tan YT, Mattes RD. Appetitive, dietary and health effects of almonds consumed with meals or as snacks: a randomised, controlled trial. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, October 2, 2013, doi:10.1038/ejcn.2013.184