Nuts, health and kids
Nuts are natural power-packs of nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, healthy fats, protein and fibre, which help children grow, develop and learn. Examples of nuts include almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, chestnuts, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts.
Peanuts are technically a legume, but they are commonly referred to as a nut as they have a similar nutritional composition.
A 30g serve of nuts is a small handful, or approximately:
- 30 pistachio kernels
- 20 almonds or hazelnuts
- 15 cashews, pecans or macadamias
- 9-10 Brazil nuts or walnuts
- 4 chestnuts
And contains around:
- 36% of a child’s daily vitamin E requirement
- 13% of a child’s daily fibre requirement
- 4g protein
- B-group vitamins, calcium, iron, zinc, potassium and magnesium
Regularly eating nuts as part of an overall healthy diet can help to reduce cholesterol, regulate blood pressure, reducing the risk of diabetes and heart disease, maintain regular bowel movements and even support bone health!
Did you know?
Nuts are a fun and filling snack for kids, as they’re less likely to fill up on other foods later on!
Nuts and kids
Nuts can be eaten on their own as a quick and healthy snack, or used to add crunch and variety to recipes.
Raw or dry-roasted and unsalted nuts are the healthiest option. Nuts with added salt or sugar should be avoided where possible.
Nuts should be introduced in the diet from six months of age just like other foods. Children under five should avoid whole nuts due to the risk of choking. Nut pastes or ground nuts are a good alternative.
Adding nuts to your child’s diet
Try these yummy ideas to help your kids get their healthy handful daily:
- prepare a trail mix for school lunchboxes
- toss almonds or cashews through a stir fry
- add roast chestnuts or pine nuts to a salad
- sprinkle roasted, chopped hazelnuts or pistachios over soup
- chop macadamia as a crust on grilled fish
- crush pecans over low-fat yoghurt and fruit
- add walnuts to home-made banana bread
- add chopped nuts to muesli, porridge or a wholegrain breakfast cereal
- a pure nut spread on toast, or as a sandwich filling, or in celery sticks.
Nuts in schools
Plain or dry-roasted nuts are rated GREEN according to the National Healthy School Canteens Guidelines, which means they are a nutritious food that should be on the canteen menu every day (if your school allows them).
Nuts and allergies
Peanuts and tree nuts can cause allergic reactions in some children.
If your child’s school chooses to have a nut free policy the following nuts/nut products should not be included in the foods your child brings from home:
Foods commonly containing nuts include:
* Adapted from Nut allergy, Healthy Eating Advisory Service, State Government of Victoria, 2014, http://heas.health.vic.gov.au
Packaged foods that contain nuts must state this on the label. You can also look for the statement ‘May contain traces of nuts’ which indicates there’s a possibility of cross-contamination during the manufacturing process.
View the Nuts for Life Nut and Allergy fact sheet at www.nutsforlife.com.au
Developed by Nutrition Australia Vic Division with Nuts for Life. © Nutrition Australia Vic Division 2014