The Pistachio Principle: Fool Yourself Full!

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Happy April Full’s Day!  Did you catch my little pun?  It’s totally appropriate because today we’re going to pull a prank on our appetites with pistachios and the Pistachio Health Institute.  How?  By using The Pistachio Principle: Fool Yourself Full.  It’s a really simple and somewhat sneaky concept using in-shell pistachios.

How often do you snack mindlessly, grabbing handful after handful out of a bag until you have no idea how much you’ve eaten?  It’s so much easier to watch your portion size AND feel satisfied when you’ve got a visual cue…like a pile of shells, perhaps. 🙂

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In a nutshell, The Pistachio Principle is a simple, mindful eating concept that may help you “fool yourself full” without feelings of deprivation.

Dr. James Painter came up with this concept after two preliminary behavioral studies that that suggest people could reduce the amount of calories consumed without consciously restricting their diets.

I don’t know about you, but the terms no deprivation and no restrictions are definitely speaking my language. 🙂

Basically, in-shell pistachios encourage slower eating, while the leftover shells give us that visual cue that I mentioned earlier.  It only gets better, because pistachios happen to be one of the lowest calorie nuts, while still containing the highest amount of fiber in snack nuts.  Win-win! 🙂

In the study, Dr. Painter found:

  • Participants that consumed in-shell pistachios ate 41% fewer calories compared to people that ate unshelled.  Those who chose shelled consumed 211 calories, while those that ate in-shell consumed only 125 calories.
  • Snackers who left the shells on their desk throughout the day cut their calorie consumption of pistachios by 18% compared to those that cleared the shells away.  It sounds to me like I need to stop being such a neat freak and leave my shells out from now on. 😉

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I don’t know about you, but this pile of shells would definitely tell me something. #timetostopeating

In all seriousness, a 30 gram serving of in-shell pistachios is very satisfying, because of the large amount of protein and fiber.  They’re great alone, or along with many other foods.  Pistachios pair perfectly with a large amount of fresh produce that you probably already have, like bananas, mangos, apples, oranges, cauliflower, and asparagus, for example.

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They’re also perfect with several pantry staples!  Dried fruit like golden raisins, apricots, figs, and cranberries are perfect with pistachios, and coconut and all chocolate varieties are delicious as well.

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And we all know how delicious they are with goat cheese, honey, and yogurt, don’t we? 😉

My favorite snack with in-shell pistachios happens to be with the ingredients in the photo above.  If you toss them in a small bowl with the pistachios still in the shell, it looks like a more substantial serving, which is that visual cue thing we keep talking about.

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Doesn’t that look like a satisfying snack?  It is — I mean WAS.  Between the small bowl and the in-shell pistachios, not only is it a substantial serving, but it looks like one, too.  I was definitely fulled –I mean fooled — and it’s time to end this post as I’m starting to go overboard here.  The Pistachio Principle is certainly an eye-opener when it comes to snacking.  It’s smart snacking, folks.

Do you love pistachios like I do?  If so, click through to the Pistachio Health Institute’s Facebook page to enter their sweepstakes for a year supply of pistachios!  Enter here.  Good luck!


I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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