21 packs of almonds, each with 23 almonds in. That’s 483 almonds.
Lay them one after each other and that’s 966 cm. Or 99.6 m. Or the height of 241 and a half African elephants standing on top of each other.
That’s what happened to me in July; the almonds, not the elephants. I ate them, a pack a day for 21 days.
I actually lie a little here. Some days I forgot and some days I ate more than one pack. Some days I ate so much other stuff I didn’t need the almonds. But I did try.
The Snack Happy Challenge is a campaign run by California Almonds, the Almond Board of California, encouraging people to snack smartly – with almonds. Not only are they tasty, but they’re cholesterol-free and full of key nutrients that can help keep your heart healthy.
Linoleic acid – an essential fat that can help maintain healthy blood cholesterol levels
Thiamine – contributes to the normal functioning of the heart and nervous system
Vitamin E – an anti-oxidant that helps protect cells from free radical damage caused by oxidative stress.
Magnesium – helps support the nervous system and normal muscle function
Calcium – contributes to normal muscle function
Plus, compare tree nuts and almonds are, gram for gram, the highest in protein, fibre, vitamin E, calcium, riboflavin and niacin. These are all things that are good for you!
By snacking on almonds in the periods of low energy, often in between meal times, not only will you keep your energy levels up, but as a consequence it’s likely you’ll eat less during your meals.
As someone who is hungry all the time and pretty sure they have worms, this didn’t sound like a bad idea.
I decided to take on the Snack Happy Challenge for several reasons – read about it here >
Did it work?
Not at the start. To start with, I carried my handful of almonds around in my pretty tin (love that tin) and carried them around. And carried them around. And… basically, I forgot about them. Even when I was hungry.
My breakthrough moment came when I sat down to watch The Great Gatsby at the cinema, realized I wouldn’t be eating for 3 hours, panicked and scrabbled around in my bag for whatever crusty leftover I could find. The almonds! They really were my saviour. From then on, I was jolted into reaching for them whenever I become peckish. I also had the habit of carrying around several packs with me, just in case one pack wasn’t enough.
Weirdly, it’s quite a calming experience knowing you’ve got snacks with you. There’s no rush-buying at the tube station for an easy bar of chocolate. And I felt like a saint, I really did.
But I did get bored of them. After all, when you’re midway through your 240th almond there’s a limit to how many almonds you can take.
The good news is that almonds are versatile. Add some to a pot of yoghurt for added crunch, sprinkle a couple on your salad. Sit on a bar of chocolate until it melts and have a mini chocolate and almond fondue. You can even make your own almond milk.
What did I learn?
My main lesson was that it’s easy to make friends when surrounded by hungry people, no shops and you’re the ones with the snacks.
I also learnt that it takes a while to train my brain and stomach not to reach for a sugary snack when I’m hungry. And that my memory’s not as good as it should be. However, once I had those working properly, almonds as snacks worked a treat.
Do I still carry almonds around?
Yes and no. I’ve got a variety of nuts in my tin, almonds included. I’ve made a healthy pot of mixed nuts (a bit like my very own Graze boxes). Each morning, I fill it up and most days I top up my stomach with the contents.
If you’re the kind of person who wants to better manage your snacking, or you notice you’re hungry in-between meals, then carrying a little pot of almonds does help; they’re convenient, won’t ruin your handbag if they spill everywhere and last a long time. Plus, they don’t easily go furry.
For more information about the #snackhappy challenge, recipe ideas and nutritional values, take a read at The Almond Board.
Disclaimer: California Almonds has asked me to take part in the Snack Happy Challenge. They have provided me with all I need to complete the challenge. For more information about healthy snacking please visit www.AlmondBoard.co.uk