Fool Yourself Full with Pistachios!

It’s April Fools’ Day and what better prank than to “fool yourself full”?  Pistachios are my favorite nut to snack on, so when I was presented with the opportunity to do this post – I was thrilled to be able to participate.

I don’t have a lot time at work to snack, so it’s nice to keep something like pistachios on hand.  And like many people, I’m trying to be more mindful of how I eat.  I’ll show you just a few of the many pairings with pistachios that create a low-calorie, yet very fulfilling snack.

But first I’d like to share with you a few key messages provided by the Pistachio Health Institute to help you learn a bit more about pistachios.


  • 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

For a healthy snack, you could pair in-shell pistachios with a low-fat vegan yogurt, fresh fruit such as pineapple or mandarin oranges and a sprinkle of shredded coconut.

Fool Yourself Full with Pistachios!

Fool Yourself Full with Pistachios!

This super simple snack includes our in-shell pistachios, dried apricots and a square of dairy-free dark chocolate.  What a great combination!

Here’s a quick tip… I like to portion my pistachios out in small zip bags so they are ready to grab when you are on the go.  For me it also helps visualize what a snack-sized portion really is.

Fool Yourself Full with Pistachios!

Fool Yourself Full with Pistachios!

But my favorite way to enjoy pistachios is with a fruit smoothie, such as this pineapple and ginger protein shake.  I love the salty and sweet combination.  It’s really refreshing and very satisfying.

Fool Yourself Full with Pistachios!

Fool Yourself Full with Pistachios!

And a few more helpful ideas before you go…


      • 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.
Fool Yourself Full with Pistachios!

Fool Yourself Full with Pistachios!

You could win a year’s supply of pistachios! Enter to win at the Pistachio Health Institute’s Facebook page.

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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