Meet the Other Nut Butters!

September 06, 2014

Meet the Other Nut Butters!

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Far be it from me to say anything critical of peanut butter.


Mmm hmm, Peanut Butter:

• It’s filling,
• delicious,
• packed with protein and
• heart-healthy fat.

I’ve loved it ever since it entered my life in Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup form, circa age 4.

But various other nut butters are beginning to emerge and I feel they deserve a little chance in the spotlight, as they offer many of the same health benefits.

My husband and I have been experimenting with other nut butters to break up the PB&J monotony in our household.

[Insert disclaimer here about being cognizant of the recent nut butter recalls.]

Here are some great ones to try – and some others to avoid or eat in moderation:

Almond Butter

This one is the winner as far as its taste is combined with a nutritional punch.

Its appearance and creaminess resembles peanut butter, but it packs about 3 grams more of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat per serving, and more fiber, calcium, potassium, iron, and manganese. Since it is less commercially available and still sometimes limited to specialty or health food stores, the brands available may be less likely to have added sugar, salt, and saturated fat.

The disadvantage? It’s still a specialty food and therefore still rather pricey.

Walnut Butter

Walnuts are almost identical to peanuts in nutritional value, but there is one area where walnuts really shine:

They are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are major health boosters in a number of areas.

Great for vegetarians who don’t get these valuable nutrients from fish.

Soy Nut Butter

This is a great option if you have tree nut or peanut allergies (or your child’s school prohibits peanut products).

While technically not a nut butter, since it’s made from roasted soybeans, it’s close to peanut butter in flavor and offers a lot of fiber and protein.


This spread is made from ground-up sesame seeds and is fantastic in savory dishes, typically ones from the African, Greek, Turkish, or Middle-Eastern regions.

I serve it with falafel and pita.

Beware that it is not sweet like other nut butters. Think of it as more akin to hummus (where it’s often used as an ingredient).

So which nut butters are on the better-to-limit-or-avoid list?

Hazelnut Spreads

This pains me to write, as Nutella is my drug of choice.

You gotta give Nutella cred for having the gall to call itself a health product... I love those commercials where they show a health-conscious mom serving it to her kids and saying something about how it’s made from fresh hazelnuts, skim milk, and “just a dash of cocoa,” but in reality, Nutella has quite a lot of sugar and is best to treat as a dessert product.

Also on the “moderation” list is

Coconut Butter

which has a high fat content and less protein than other nut butters.

Enjoy experimenting and let me know your favorites!

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