Nutrition Articles

Go Nuts for Nut Butters!

A World of Choices Beyond Peanut Butter

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Peanut butter may be a household staple, but spreads made from other nuts and seeds can add nutrients and variety to your diet.

Peanut butter has that ideal balance between sweet and salty, making it the perfect companion for everything from whole grain toast to celery sticks. And it's an inexpensive source of protein and good-for-you monounsaturated fats. Generations of kids have gotten through the school day fueled by peanut-butter sandwiches and a carton of milk—you were probably one of them!

But did you know that there's more to nut butters than just plain peanut butter? How about spreads made from almonds, cashews, and even seeds like sunflower? As an alternative to the old standby, consider these other products most easily found in gourmet, natural and/or organic grocery stores.
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About The Author

Bryn Mooth Bryn Mooth
Bryn Mooth is an independent copywriter and journalist focused on food, wellness and design; she's also a Master Gardener and enthusiastic green thumb. She shares seasonal recipes, kitchen techniques, healthy eating tips and food wisdom on her blog writes4food.com.

Member Comments

  • Who would have thought that you had to watch out and read so much on so called "NATURAL" foods also. I hate food shopping as it is. I do love nut butters though. I think that I will look more into the recipes and try make up a small batch. - 9/16/2014 8:58:12 PM
  • My son is deathly allergic to all tree nuts and peanuts. A very good alternative we have found is called Wow Butter. It is made out of soy. They even offer a chunky style (the soy is clumped). Tastes very similar to peanut butter at least to us and has the same cooking consistency as pb. One serving (2 TBSP) gets you 7g of protein. Would recommend giving that a try as well. - 9/16/2014 6:36:02 PM
  • FOXGLOVE999
    While I love nut butters, and will continue to eat them, they are not a especially good source of protein. I get as much protein from the bread I spread it on, as the nut butter contains. In order to get enough protein, I've had to increase my meat consumption. - 9/8/2014 12:50:09 PM
  • RACEWELLWON
    Almond and Cashew Butter on an Apple or Pear - great snack ! - 5/13/2014 9:30:14 AM
  • PDANNYK, Macadamia nuts would be just as good as almonds, both are low in pufas -- I think macadamia nuts more so. Unfortunately they're also more expensive. - 12/13/2013 1:51:33 AM
  • Thanks for the "ping-pong ball " serving size. Great visual! - 9/18/2013 7:17:20 PM
  • I ground it at the whole food store when the kids were little. They didn't have commercial peanut butter till they were older. Loved the Hazelnut butter! - 9/17/2013 9:04:37 PM
  • I use pb2 which is powdered peanut with no oil. mix it with a little water. 2tbsp is only 45 calories and 1.5g fat and 5 grams of protein. - 9/16/2013 5:15:36 PM
  • I make my own peanut butter in the food processor with dry roasted unsalted peanuts. It is so much better than any of the store-bought products with all that oil, salt and sugar. If you process two cups of peanuts for about 5 minutes it's perfectly creamy, not stiff or oily.
    I tried making pecan butter, but didn't like the somewhat bitter taste, so I added it to some peanut butter I'd already made and it was fine.
    I love almonds, so may try that butter next.

    Pesticides and preservatives are always a concern in the U.S., unfortunately. - 9/16/2013 1:28:12 PM
  • AHT001
    Thank you, DADKAJ! - 9/15/2013 3:56:27 PM
  • PEACENCARROTS
    I tried almond and cashew butter and really liked them! - 9/15/2013 12:33:43 PM
  • DADKAJ
    here you can find some information about the fatty acids profile of some oily stuff. linoleic is omega6 while linoleNic is omega3. the optimal ratio of 6 to 3 is considered anywhere between 1:1 to 4:1. some modern diets based on unsaturated fats source have it even 20:1 which is wrong. flaxseed is a superior source of omega3 from plant sources, walnuts are also good. all the rest from the list below contributes to the imbalance of omega6 to omega3 unless one consumes omega3 from other sources and balances it out.

    http://www.netr
    ition.com/nut
    s.html - 9/15/2013 8:12:39 AM
  • DADKAJ
    Today with the advancement in the nutrition and health science it is no longer sufficient to advocate the unsaturated fats as the absolute good. we have to distinguish between the three major unsaturated fats as omega 9, 6 and 3. people who looked into the health effects of these fatty acids already know that we are having a high and unhealthy ratio of omega6 to omega3, which is pro-inflammatory, a foundation of tissue damage and various civilization diseases. and plant oils such as sunflower oil are full of omega6 but contain very little of omega3. people would be better off with some butter instead of plant spreads such as margarines. saturated fat in moderation is not bad for us. it is its excess that affects the lipoprotein particles and our health. while these nut spreads are nutritionally better than just butter, their composition of fats from the perspective of our general diet may not be that beneficial. - 9/15/2013 8:00:04 AM
  • You have to be careful about nut allergies. I peanuts are used any time in the processing machines, there may be residue in the butter. Is it labeled that NO peanut machinery was used? - 9/15/2013 2:28:32 AM
  • Anyone know if pecans make a decent butter? - 7/13/2013 8:23:49 PM

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