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Lesson P.2

Lesson P.2: Nuts & Seafood

Lesson 2: Nuts & Seafood (PDF)

Culinary Skills/Techniques demonstrated:

  • Cutting skills: slicing, chopping, mincing 
  • How to maximize flavor with citrus zesting 
  • Use of whole grain (quinoa), cooking techniques
  • Fish basics- cooking techniques, storage, purchasing
  • Use of nuts (walnuts) as a source of ALA


student washing hands at sink

two students prepare food in kitchen.

student prepares food on counter with bowls and blenders.

Resources/Techniques to Review: General

Patient Education Application

  • Introduction to food label reading
  • Zesting citrus is a simple, inexpensive way to enhance flavor and use less sodium
  • Use of nuts as a HEART healthy snack (watch total calorie intake)
  • Omega fats: DHA AND EPA
  • Healthy grains (quinoa)

Nutrition Concepts Background:


  • Numerous randomized clinical trials and epidemiologic studies have observed that nut intake in the context of a healthy, calorie balanced dietary pattern is associated with a reduced risk of CHD and ischemic heart disease. Also, 25 RCT have observed a dose response relationship between nut intake and total/LDL cholesterol risk reduction. Intake of 67 g/nuts daily (walnuts) included in a healthy, calorie balanced diet demonstrated an average LDL reduction of ~ 13% (AJCN 100:256-259, 2014; JAMA Jan 25, 2016);
  • Walnuts are a source of α linolenic acid (ALA) 18:3 (n-3) ( 1ou= 28 gm wt= 12 to 14 halves= 2.5 g of α linolenic acid (ALA), 18 g total fat, 125 mg potassium; 2 g fiber; 25% recommendation for copper; 10% recommendation for magnesium, 190 kcal). A small % (1-8% range) of ALA can be converted to DHA & EPA
  • Bioactive ingredients in nuts: micronutrients, tocopherols, phenolic compounds (anti-inflammatory))


  • According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015, only 10% of the US population ingests the recommended seafood intake of 8 ounces weekly (DGA recommendations) or The American Heart Association’s recommendation of fish consumption (preferably fatty fish) twice weekly @ 3.5 ounce servings each; These fish consumption recommendations would result in a daily intake of 250 mg of EPA and DHA (DGA) and 500 mg of EPA and DHA (AHA), respectively. 
  • Statements from these organizations indicate that the benefits outweigh the risks of consumption for adults; however, risk/benefit needs to be considered during the life cycle stages. Children and pregnant women are advised to avoid mercury risk seafood such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tile fish and to consume 12 ounces weekly of other fish; 
  • Recommendations for intake of omega 3 fats (eicosapentaenoic acid – EPA; 20:5 (n3) and docosahexaenoic (DHA); 22:6 (n3) vary widely globally. In the US, the Institute of Medicine recommends that α linolenic acid (ALA) 18:3 (n-3) Adequate Intake (AI) is at 0.6% to 1.2% of total calories, with ~ 10% of this from EPA and DHA. No Dietary Reference Intake from the Institute of Medicine is available for EPA and DHA. Endogenous synthesis from ALA of EPA and then DHA is between 1-8%. Sources of ALA include walnuts, pumpkin seeds, canola oil, flaxseeds.

Why is Quinoa Considered a "Healthy" Carbohydrate?:

  • Technically a seed, not a grain
  • Contains all of the essential amino acids in a pattern parallel to recommendations and is 16% protein, higher than other grains (8g/pro/1 cup or 185 grams)
  • Fiber (high: 5 grams/1 cup: 2.5 soluble and 2.5 insoluble)
  • Provides 58% RDA for manganese, 30% magnesium, 19% folate, 18% calcium, 15% iron, 13% zinc (excellent source of micronutrients)
  • Contains flavonoids: quercetin and kaempferol (anti-inflammatory)
  • Considered a ‘low glycemic’ carbohydrate (slow absorption of the carbohydrate and hence a more moderate plasma glucose peak)

Food Label Reading:

  • What is the serving size and most importantly- does it make sense?
  • Always read the ingredients list carefully! 
  • Don’t be fooled by terms:
  • REDUCED = 25% of the original, REDUCED is not the same as “LOW”
  • ZERO isn’t zero: In the legal label world, less than 0.5 grams is equal to zero
  • SUGAR FREE (does NOT mean it contains no carbohydrates)
  • LOW or “LITE” = 1/3 of the original value
  • HIGH Fiber: ≥ 5 grams per serving
  • Good Fiber: 2.5-5 grams per serving
  • % DAILY VALUE: Recommendations based on a 2,000 kcal diet
    • 100% DV: total fat = 65 grams
    • 100% Saturated fat= 20 grams
    • 100% Cholesterol= 300 milligrams
    • 100% Sodium= 2400 milligrams
    • 100% Carbohydrate= 300 Grams
    • 100% Fiber= 25 grams
    • 100% calcium= 1,000 milligrams

Additional Resources