Already August? That’s Nuts!

Packed with protein, fiber, nutrients, and health-protective substances, a small handful of nuts makes for a nutritious and satisfying snack. If you enjoy eating almonds, walnuts, cashews, peanuts, and more, this month is for you! “National Nuts Day” will be celebrated August 3rd, while “National Trail Mix Day” is August 31st. Nuts are so calorically dense so it’s important to keep track of your portion sizes. A one-ounce recommended serving size (roughly 23 almonds, 14 walnut halves, 17 cashews, or 28 peanuts) contains approximately 160 to 200 calories. When incorporated appropriately into your diet, here are some benefits of nuts:


  • Although nuts are high in calories and fat, most of the fat comes from monounsaturated fat. This fat can help reduce bad cholesterol levels, making nuts a heart-healthy choice.
  • Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, nuts can benefit your heart by preventing dangerous heart rhythms that can lead to heart attacks, according to the Mayo Clinic. Omega-3 fatty acids can also help to fight inflammation.
  • Nuts are a fiber-rich food. Fiber fills you up, which can help you eat less and maintain a healthy weight. Additionally, fiber is thought to play a role in preventing diabetes. Almonds contain the most fiber (about three grams per ounce) than any other nut.
  • Furthermore, nuts are an excellent source of Vitamin-E, which plays an important role in prevention of cardiovascular disease. Vitamin-E has been shown to stop the development of plaque in arteries.
  • Antioxidants help to protect your body from the cellular damage that contributes to heart disease, cancer, and premature aging,and they are found in nuts. To get the most antioxidants out of your nuts, choose walnuts.

If you are allergic to nuts or just don’t like the taste, there are a few substitutes you can eat that contain similar nutritional benefits. For instance, sunflower seeds lower the risk of heart disease and contain high amounts of Vitamin-E. Avocados, olives, and pumpkin seeds are also excellent sources of nutrients found in nuts, especially unsaturated fats.


Heart-Healthy Trail Mix Recipe


½ cup unsalted silvered almonds

3 cups whole grain unsweetened cereal (Can mix cereals)

1 cup unsalted, dry roasted soy nuts

1 cup unsalted, dry roasted peanuts

½ cup dried cranberries

½ cup seedless raisins

½ cup diced dried apricots (or choice or additional unsweetened dried fruit – such as mixed berries or figs or dates)



Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl and serve!

Nutritional information

Makes 28 servings

Serving size: ¼ cup

Nutritional Facts:

Calories: 110

Fat: 6 g

Saturated Fat: 0.5 g

Sodium: 35 mg

Cholesterol: 0 g

Protein: 5 g

Carbohydrate: 13 g

Sugars: 4 g

Dietary fiber: 3-7 grams (depending on the type of cereal used)


Source: Melissa Ohlson MS, RD, LD & Julia Zumpano RD, LD

Registered Dietitians from the Department of Preventive Cardiology & Rehabilitation


MANNA takes on D.C. at ACBP ’14

MANNA’s advocacy team – Executive Director, Sue Daugherty, Director of Policy and Institutional Affairs, Ann Hoskins-Brown, and Community Outreach & Advocacy Specialist, Katelyn Baron – attended the 2014 Advocacy Capacity Building Project (ACBP) Symposium September 29-October 1, at NASTAD in Washington D.C. The annual symposium encourages collaboration between “sister” organizations from all over the country, with over 50 attendees from 20 diverse food and nutrition services agencies this year. Each participant had the opportunity to share their best practices and recent advocacy activities; MANNA presented updates on how we are working to leverage our groundbreaking research with targeted advocacy work. Together, we brainstormed and discussed topics including the power of evidence and developing and delivering an impactful message.

The symposium offered several opportunities to participate in advocacy trainings to learn the tools of the trade, helping to facilitate successful interactions with elected officials and academic institutions. This training was crucial for our visits with staff from the offices of Congressman Chaka Fattah, Congressman Bob Brady, Senator Bob Casey and Senator Pat Toomey from Pennsylvania, along with several New Jersey legislators. Our Hill meetings, scheduled for our final day in D.C., provided the opportunity to share our “food is medicine” model and research with policymakers to demonstrate its potential to change healthcare. MANNA’s services save Pennsylvania valuable healthcare dollars and our clients experience improved health outcomes. We believe our meal program should be a reimbursable standard of care and a right to everyone facing a life-threatening illness.

Overall, our time in DC opened our eyes to many new possibilities. There is still much to learn and we are excited to redefine our goals and continue to move forward with our mission. ACBP has empowered us to take on new advocacy goals focused at the state level. It was motivating and refreshing to share and hear new ideas about our unique services. MANNA has many challenges ahead, but we will continue to advocate for the incorporation of nutrition into healthcare.

We want to thank The M•A•C AIDS Fund, The Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation at Harvard Law School, AIDS United, the National AIDS Housing Coalition, Representatives from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare (CMS) for all of their support. To all of our sister organizations, we thank you for collaborating and learning with us. These organizations include: God’s Love We Deliver, Project Angel Food, Open Hand Atlanta, Project Angel Heart, AIDS Project New Haven, AIDS Services Foundation Orange County, Moveable Feast, Community Servings, Project Open Hand, Bill’s Kitchen, Inc., Heartland Health Outreach, Mama’s Kitchen, Long Island Association for AIDS Care, Food & Friends, The Poverello Center, Lifelong AIDS Alliance and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.


To see more pictures from our DC visit, see our Facebook album.



Food is Medicine: A Growing Belief

Despite its humble beginnings, the “food as medicine” principle that MANNA’s system is based on is finally beginning to be recognized and acted on by our policymakers. A fact sheet published in July by the Union of Concerned Scientists reports that the new Farm Bill includes a program that will use healthy food access to help prevent chronic illnesses and reduce medical costs.

The report comments that the American diet, typically high in meats, sugars, and processed foods and low in fresh fruits and vegetables, has led to the highest spending in health care of any country in the world. Most of our medical spending is on chronic illnesses, many of which could be prevented by improved diets. However, prevention and treatment is not as simple as just telling people to change their diets. The U.S. food system makes it very difficult for many people to access healthy foods, given that most low-income communities lack stores that sell fresh fruits and vegetables, and those that do often sell them at unaffordable prices.


The 2014 Farm Bill begins to address this problem with a program called the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI), which offers grant funding to community organizations working to secure affordable access to healthy foods. FINI requires that organizations match these federal funds with contributions from other sources. The report by the Union of Concerned Scientists suggests hospitals supply the match, using The Affordable Care Act requirement for community benefit initiatives. FINI provides the opportunity for health care facilities and healthy food initiatives to collaborate, all in the name of improving health and reducing health care costs.

At MANNA, we support initiatives like this that break down the perceived barrier between health care and food. While MANNA is not a preventative service that would fit under FINI, we do work in the same realm, using food as an integral part of a treatment plan. Healthy food is critical to a healthy life and we hope to see more progressive legislation in the future that builds on the understanding that food is medicine.

This post is by Kelly McGlynn, rising senior at Brown University and former Advocacy & Health Policy Intern at MANNA.