6 Healthy Peanut Butter Alternatives
Peanut butter is a staple of school lunches and afternoon snacks. However, not all peanut butters are created equal. Many brands add sugar, vegetable oil, and trans fats into what's normally, left to its own devices, a protein-packed snack. Eating too much added sugar and trans fat has been linked to heart disease and other health problems. If you're looking for the healthiest option, go for one that you find at a health food store, with just peanuts and maybe salt as the ingredients.
Additionally, if allergies come into the picture, or you're just looking to mix it up, it might be worth it to try some alternatives. Below, Farm to Fit has got you covered, with a handful of delectable spreads that compete with peanut butter on the nutritional front as well as on taste tests.
Almond butter has a similar nutritional value to peanut butter, with peanut butter containing more protein. Yet, since almond butter has more vitamins, minerals, and fiber than peanut butter, it's considered healthier. In general, almond butter is healthier than most other nut butters because almonds have less saturated fat than other nuts. Instead, they are full of monounsaturated fats, which are tied to reduced heart disease and better blood sugar control.
Sunflower Seed Butter
For anyone who has a tree nut allergy, sunflower seed butter is an obvious alternative. But even if you don't, the bright, slightly sweet taste may be enough to sway you. On the health side, sunflower seed butter has more unsaturated fat, magnesium, and vitamin E than peanut butter, and less sugar and saturated fat than many popular peanut butter brands.
Pecan butter contains over 19 different vitamins and minerals, including high concentrations of manganese, thiamin, and copper. It also includes a lot of fiber. Plus, pecans are the highest antioxidant nut, with 400% of what's found in almonds, and 566% of what's found in peanuts. Pecan butter, however, has more calories and fat than some of the other options on this list, so it's best to not indulge on an everyday basis.
A spread made from toasted and ground sesame seeds, tahini might be an unexpected choice as a peanut butter substitute, but hear us out! Tahini has been compared to nut butters before for its taste, though it is more bitter. Nutritionally, it is low in calories and high in fiber and protein. Tahini is also a good source of phosphorus and manganese, both of which are important to bone health.
Cashew butter, like peanut butter, contains a lot of healthy fats. It has more healthy monounsaturated fat than peanut butter, though, and is high in iron, magnesium, vitamin B6, and calcium. It's important to note that cashew butter is made from either raw or baked cashews, and the raw variety is better at retaining the nutritional properties, so keep that in mind when shopping.
Walnut butter has the most omega-3 fatty acids of all the nut butters, which makes it an excellent choice for lowering cholesterol and decreasing inflammation. Walnut butter is also, like pecan butter, high in antioxidants. However, walnut butter is lower in protein and fiber than other options, and higher in fat, so it's not the healthiest all around.