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Published on April 2nd, 2015 | by cmiy


The Pistachio Principle: Fool Yourself Full

The Pistachio Principle - CreativeMeInspiredYou.com

Kristen: Friends, today I am sharing a great snack idea using Pistachios in the shell.

The Pistachio Principle - CreativeMeInspiredYou.com

Over the last two years I have made it a goal to eat healthier, and try to lose weight that has snuck up on me. I’ve managed to lose over 30 pounds.

Some times you have heard me talk about our family’s quest to eat less carbs. For us that is limiting our white flour, potatoes and pasta intake. Which hasn’t been that easy. I have more planning ahead for meals to do.

However, with the fitness industry booming, there are some great ideas to incorporate into our own lives and getting rid of breads and crackers is a great way to limit those carbs.

I love to make snacks for my kids to enjoy for when they get home, and usually by that time, I’m a little hungry as well.

The Pistachio Principle - CreativeMeInspiredYou.com

This is one of my go-to snacks. Great for a protein punch. Spicy pepperoni, pepper jack cheese, cheddar, and some pistachios. Keeping them in the shell makes the kids and I take a few more seconds between popping one delicious pistachio after another.

The Pistachio Principle - CreativeMeInspiredYou.com

One of the ways I try to make it smaller portions is to make the cubes of cheese and pepperoni smaller. Each bite seems to be regular cube size, but that smaller piece still satisfies and gives us the feeling we are getting bigger portions without eating big portions. Yum! Enjoy!

Tammy:  My favorite method of eating is combining salty and sweet. When thinking of what would be really good to combine as a pairing with pistachios, I decided I wanted to combine salty and sweet. Pistachios themselves combine those two qualities. That is one of the things I love about them. They are roasted and salty, but the meat of the nuts has a bit of sweetness. A perfect combination in my book!

For the sweet part of my snack pairing, I immediately thought of fruit. I really like to search out the freshest in-season fruit. I found some really nice seedless green grapes. They really had a nice flavor too. Then my mind immediately thought again of salty. How about a cheese? I spied some nice fresh mozzarella. You know – the kind that’s in a soft ball packed in a bit of liquid? So, I bought a package of that. Now, I’m thinking of sweet once again. Dried fruit came to mind. I went to the dried fruit section of my grocery, and there were some yummy Montmorency whole dried tart cherries. I had my pairings with my pistachios. Healthy, good-for-you snacks.

The Pistachio Principle - CreativeMeInspiredYou.com

Pistachios, dried cherries, fresh mozzarella cheese, and green seedless grapes. Salty and sweet – just what I crave. This is a leisurely snack. Take your time and savor your food. Cracking those pistachios takes some time, but it slows you down and really lets your enjoy your snack.


Useful Information from our friends at Pistachio Health Institute:


  • Pistachios are one of the lowest calorie snack nuts. In fact, for every one-ounce serving, pistachios offer about 49 nuts per serving; peanuts offer just 28, cashews offer just 18, and walnuts, 14 halves and 23 almonds in the same 30g serving.1 Pistachios are known as the “Skinny Nut™” for a reason!1
  • Eat This (pistachios), Not That (potato chips) for a smart snack. Unlike potato chips, pistachios offer a good source of protein and fiber, with over three times as many pieces per serving. Pistachios give you 49 nuts per serving; compare that to just 15 potato chips per serving (and who eats just 15 potato chips?).1
  • You can enjoy about 30 pistachio kernels for 100 calories.1


  • The “Pistachio Principle” is a simple mindful eating concept that may help you “fool yourself full” – without feelings of deprivation. Dr. James Painter completed two preliminary behavioral studies that suggest that individuals could reduce their overall calorie consumption without consciously restricting their diets. 2,3
  • The premise is that consumption of in-shell pistachios encourages slower eating while the leftover shells offer an important visual cue about the amount consumed; thereby, helping to reduce calorie intake.2,3 The technique is further enhanced by the fact that pistachios are one of the lowest calorie and among the highest fiber snack nuts.1
    • Illustrating the “Pistachio Principle,” Dr. Painter’s research found that participants who consumed in-shell pistachios ate 41 percent fewer calories compared to those who consumed shelled pistachios. Those who chose shelled pistachios consumed an average of 211 calories, while those who chose in-shell pistachios consumed an average of 125 calories.2,3
    • In a second preliminary study – Dr. Painter found that snackers who left discarded pistachio shells on their desk throughout the day cut their calorie consumption of pistachios by 18 percent compared to those who routinely cleared away their nut shells.
    • In-Shell Snacks Provide Visual Cues and may Slow Consumption: The premise is that consumption of in-shell pistachios may help to slow eating when compared to shelled pistachios because the leftover shells may offer an important visual cue about the amount consumed; thereby potentially reducing calorie intake.2,3


    • Eat from smaller bowls, which may help you eat less and still feel satisfied. Additionally, drink from tall, slender glasses rather than short, wide glasses which may make you feel fuller on fewer calories.
    • 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.
    • 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.

See footnotes for sources:

  1. U.S. Department of Agriculture. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 27.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.


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