Have you ever eaten a snack or a small meal and immediately thought afterwards, “Wow! I’m still hungry?” Yea, I’m sure we’ve all been there and as much as this has happened, let’s face it, we’d rather not believe we need to eat more to feel satiated. Well, today I’m going to give you a couple of tips to trick your mind in making you fool yourself full using the “pistachio principle!” And what better way to do this than now for April Fool’s Day?!
As much as I LOVE sweets, I do try my best to counter this sweet tooth of mine with healthier food and snack options, one of which are pistachios. Did you know pistachios are one of the lowest calorie snack nuts? In fact, for every one ounce (30 grams) serving, pistachios offer about 49 nuts as compared to:
- 28 peanuts
- 23 almonds
- 18 cashews
- 14 walnut halves
- 15 potato chips, for the same 30 gram serving.
No wonder why pistachios are known as the “Skinny Nut™!”  So keep in mind if you’re looking for a satisfying healthy snack with a good source of protein and fiber, turn to pistachios which offer 100 calories per 30 kernels.
By now, you may ask, “But what is this ‘pistachio principle’?” This principle is a simple yet mindful eating concept that may help you “fool yourself full” without any feelings of deprivation. Two preliminary behavioral studies conducted by Dr. James Painter suggests that individuals can reduce their overall calorie consumption without needing to restrict their diets. [2,3] The premise of this, is that consuming in-shell pistachios encourages slower eating while the leftover shells give an important visual cue on the amount consumed; thereby, helping to reduce calorie intake. [2,3] In addition, it does help the fact that pistachios are naturally a low calorie snack and among the highest in fiber content for a nut. 
Furthermore, Dr. Painter’s research has found that participants who consumed in-shell pistachios ate an average of 125 calories; 41 % fewer calories compared to those who consumed shelled pistachio with an average of 211 calories. [2,3] In addition, snackers who left discarded pistachio shells on their desk throughout the day cut their calorie consumption of pistachios by 18 % compared to those who routinely cleared away their nut shells. So the next time you eat your pistachios, leave the empty shells on your desk. ;-)
Keep in mind, pistachios do not have to be eaten alone to attain the same pistachio principle. When eating in-shell pistachios they pair very well with many other flavors. Diversify your snack options by mixing it up with your choice of cheese such as gouda, chevre, and goat cheese, chopped dark or white chocolate, and of course fresh or dried fruits such as strawberries and cranberries, to name a few.
If you’re looking for more ways than one to fool yourself full beyond April Fool’s Day, see these other tips Dr. Painter suggests:
- REDUCE THE SIZE OF PLATES, BOWLS & GLASSES – Eat from smaller dishware, which may help you eat less and still feel satisfied. Previously discussed in this post here. Additionally, drink from tall, slender glasses rather than short, wide glasses which may make you feel fuller on fewer calories.
- BUY SMALLER PORTION – Purchase single-serving chips and small-size candy bars in place of family-size bags. A study suggests that the large package size increases caloric consumption by an average of 22 percent.
- CONSIDER ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS – According to Dr. Painter, bright lighting and fast music may encourage you to eat faster and consume more calories. One study suggests that when participants were instructed to eat at a fast or slow rate, consuming food at the slow rate helped participants achieve satiation quicker with less food. This suggests that slow eating may prevent excessive food consumption.
U.S. Department of Agriculture. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 27.
K. Kennedy-Hagan, J.E. Painter, C. Honselman, A. Halvorson, K. Rhodes, K. Skwir. “The Effect of Pistachio Shells as a Visual Cue in Reducing Caloric Consumption.” Appetite. 2011, 57(2): 418-420.
Honselman, C.S., Painter, J.E., Kennedy-Hagan, K.J., Halvorson, A., Rhodes, K., Brooks, T.L., & Skwir, K. “In-shell pistachio nuts reduce caloric intake compared to shelled nuts.” Appetite. 2011, 57(2):414-417.
Last but not least, click HERE to redirect you to enter for your chance to win a YEAR SUPPLY OF PISTACHIOS!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.