Looking for a super-filling, low-calorie snack that can help you lose weight and hasn’t been pumped full of artificial crap? We are, too, and apparently some prominent food bloggershave found the best new thing: tiger nuts.
What? You’ve never heard of tiger nuts? Most people haven’t. These slightly sweet, slightly chewy tubers (yes, they’re tubers, not even nuts) with a mild nutty, earthy, vanilla flavor look like shriveled chickpeas and come from Northern Africa.
So are they really the stuff dieters’ dreams are made of? We investigate.
The perks: For starters, tiger nuts are super high in resistant starch (RS) fiber, which has been getting a lot of a lot of buzz for its weight-loss benefits, says Gina Consalvo, RD, registered dietician.
RS passes through the stomach and small intestine without being digested, and may even help you lose weight by reducing blood sugar spikes and keeping you fuller longer than other foods with the same number of calories, she says.
It also benefits your gut by acting as a prebiotic, stimulating the growth of good bacteria in the digestive tract.
One ounce, or about 50 chickpea-sized pieces of plain, raw tiger nuts, contains 120 calories, 10 g of fiber (about 40% of your daily value), 9 g of naturally occurring sugars, tons of vitamins and minerals such as magnesium and iron, and 7 g of fat, most of which is oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that research shows can help reduce appetite and promote weight loss.
For some context, a serving of almonds—about 23 nuts—has 163 calories and about a third of the filling fiber of tiger nuts.
The pitfalls: There aren’t too many, unless you have digestive issues such as IBS or are sensitive to high-fiber foods, says Consalvo—in those cases, you might experience some gas, bloating, cramping, or diarrhea if you eat too many tiger nuts.
Where to find them: Right now you can buy plain raw tiger nuts, tiger nut granola featuring various seeds and dried fruit, tiger nut flour to use in gluten-free baked goods, and unsweetened and sweetened tiger nut horchatas (a traditional drink in Spain made from water, ground tiger nuts, and a touch of sweetness from sugar or dates) from brands like Organic Gemini at Whole Foods and online retailers like Amazon.
How to eat them: You can nosh on whole tiger nuts right out of the bag, but if you find them too plain or chewy in raw form, here are some ways to make them more delicious:
Soak in water 12 hours for an easier-to-chew treat.Toast in a frying pan with a bit of olive oil until crispy, then chop and add to salads or oatmeal to keep you full til your next meal.Combine with dried fruit, nuts, and dark chocolate for a nutrient-packed trail mix.Soak overnight in water, blend with dates and cinnamon, and strain for a DIY horchata.