Practice Mindful Eating this May with the Pistachio Principle

TUESDAY, MAY 26, 2015

During a meal, it can take up to 20 minutes for your brain to register that your stomach is full.1 Eating too much, too fast, may lead to unwanted pounds. For a healthy way to manage weight, ditch the fad diets for good and practice mindful eating. Focus on what to eat, and on how to eat. One example of a mindful eating technique is the Pistachio Principle.

What is the Pistachio Principle?

The Pistachio Principle is a great tactic for mindful eating, and may help fool yourself full without feeling deprived. It’s based on preliminary behavioral nutritional studies, conducted by James Painter, PhD, RD, Eastern Illinois University, that suggest that individuals snacking on pistachios could reduce their calorie intake without consciously restricting their diets.2,3 In fact, in-shell pistachio snackers ate 41 percent fewer calories compared to those that snacked on shelled nuts.2 It takes time to open each shell, which encourages snackers to slow down and be more mindful of what they’re eating. Also, the empty shells act as a visual cue to remind snackers how much has been eaten, and may contribute to decreased intake.3

Eat mindfully with these helpful tips:

  1. Eat slower: Eating isn’t a race. Pace yourself with pistachios. Cracking each shell takes time, which can help slow down consumption, and may prevent mindless overeating.
  2. Savor the flavor: Elevate your palate by not inhaling your food. Pay closer attention the next time you munch on a pistachio. They’re savory with a dash of salt, but can you taste the hint of sweetness and creamy notes? Delicious.
  3. Enjoy the silence: Eat without distractions, including TV and cell phones. Instead, try paying attention to the snap of the shells and the crunch of the nuts when snacking on pistachios. Focusing less on daily stressors that distract us, and engaging other senses while eating, can lead to a more enjoyable meal time.


It’s a no brainer that pistachios make a great mindful snack. Dive into one of our favorite mindful pistachio pairings:


Crunchies & Cream: In-shell pistachios + Granny Smith apple slices + neufchatel cheese + drizzle of honey

Afternoon Delight: In-shell pistachios + pear + Earl Grey tea


Dark & Crunchy: In-shell pistachios + Bing cherries + dark chocolate



1 Papagiannidou E, Tsipis A, Athanassiadou AM, Petrou E, Athanassiadou P. Dietary energy density, satiety, and weight management. Open Access Scientific Reports. 2013, 2(1):1-5. doi:10.4172/scientificreports.585

2 Honselman CS, Painter JE, Kennedy‐Hagan KJ, et al. In‐shell pistachio nuts reduce caloric intake compared to shelled nuts. Appetite. 2011, 57(2):414‐417.

3 Kennedy-Hagan, KJ Painter JE, Honselman CS, Halvorson A, Rhodes K, Skwir K. The Effect of Pistachio Shells as a Visual Cue in Reducing Caloric Consumption. Appetite. 2011;57(2): 418-420.