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Eat nougat at Christmas

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Nougat, like all foods included in the section on sweets and pastries, are highly caloric, which is why they should not be taken regularly, much less in large quantities.

Nougat provides about 500 calories per 100 grams. However, we must bear in mind that the traditional nougat, from Jijona and Alicante (soft and hard as they are popularly known), contains a good amount of almonds , a very interesting food from a nutritional point of view. The fats that come from almonds are mainly monounsaturated. In addition, these nougats are rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, vitamin E and folic acid and, in smaller quantities, in niacin, riboflavin and thiamine and are low in sodium.

Types of nougat

Traditional nougats are a dough based on almonds, honey and / or sugar , with some other ingredient. In addition to the classic Jijona (soft) and Alicante (hard), we find the nougat from Agramunt, Cherta, guirlache, egg yolk, truffle, marzipan with candied fruits, coconut, chocolate with almonds, with hazelnuts, with rice swollen… The nutritional composition varies greatly from one variety to another. All are caloric products due to the high amount of sugars and the presence of fats . However, a nougat with milk fats and few nuts will contain a much less interesting lipid profile and its mineral contribution will not be as described either.

In general, we can keep the nougat at room temperature in the same containers with which it is marketed, preserving the container well without breaking it and closing it when not consumed. Soft nougat or Jijona nougat is the only nougat that if it is kept at room temperature and it is a little high, it can release oil from the almonds . This does not mean that it spoils, simply that when consuming it we will find it softer and oily and, in addition, it can soak the cardboard containers. In this case, it can be kept in a plastic container suitable for food use or, if we want it to be firmer, it can be kept in the refrigerator and take it out for a while before consuming it.

Who can have nougat and who cannot?

Nougat is a sweet and, therefore, its consumption should be sporadic and in small quantities. In this way, it may be suitable for the entire population with minor exceptions.

It is interesting for:

  • Children and young people : they are people with a higher energy expenditure due to their physical activity and because they are in a growth period. To meet these energy needs we must resort to a healthy and balanced diet with contribution from all food groups, taking into account that fats and sweets must be consumed without abuse. Within sweets, nougat is a good option that provides heart-healthy fats and fiber, therefore, it is perfect to complement a snack or a fruit dessert.
  • Athletes: sport involves an increase in energy expenditure and a decrease in muscle glycogen reserves that we must replenish by consuming carbohydrates. After exercising it is the best time to drink nougat and recover reserves in the form of sugars accompanied by protein.
  • Oncological patients and people with increased energy needs: when the problem is to provide a lot of energy in a small amount of food, such as in patients with cachexia, nougat can be a good option due to its high energy load. For example, a nougat ice cream is very easy to consume and provides a lot of energy, although the lipid profile worsens a bit due to the milk fats.

It should be controlled in case of:

  • People who are overweight or obese. As it is a highly energetic food, it is not recommended for people who are overweight. It is advisable to reserve your consumption at a specific time and in a very limited quantity.
  • Diabetes mellitus or reactive hyperglycemia. Nougat contains a significant amount of sugars, therefore its consumption should be limited in people with diabetes mellitus to avoid hyperglycemia. There are nougats made with fructose and that provide a more progressive increase in blood glucose but this does not mean that they can be taken without measure.

Tips for buying quality nougat

To buy a quality nougat, you have to check the labels of the different nougat, paying special attention to the amount of almonds they contain . We must also check the sugar content and take a look at the rest of the ingredient list. If you have a nutritional information table we can review the type of fats they contain, if most of the fat comes from almonds, it will be mostly monounsaturated. As always, we will review the expiration date and reject those with broken or damaged packaging.

Chocolate nougat muffins recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 sachet of yeast
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 glass of olive oil
  • 1 glass of brown sugar
  • 1 and a half glasses of whole wheat flour
  • 50 g of soft nougat or Jijona
  • For the decoration (optional): 30 g of chocolate for desserts and pastry bag.

Preparation

We preheat the oven to 180ºC. In a bowl, mix the flour, eggs, oil, sugar and yeast well. We crumble the nougat and we add it to the mixture. We have just made a homogeneous paste with nougat shavings and filled the muffin molds (fill ¾ parts of their capacity). Bake for about 20 minutes and let cool. If we wish, we can decorate the muffins by melting the chocolate and making lines or drawings on them with the pastry bag.

 

What you should know:

  • There is a wide variety of nougats and, although the traditional ones are based on honey and almonds , other more innovative ones provide less healthy fats.
  • The nougat almond offer cardiosaludable lipid profile containing monounsaturated fatty acids.
  • Ideal for children and athletes , always taking them in moderation.
  • Did you know that the highest quality nougat from Alicante must have at least 60% almond and a Jijona nougat, 64%. The almond is the star ingredient of the nougat so the higher the almond content, the better the nougat.

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