Nuts are a staple of most vegetarian and vegan diets. They’re loaded with healthy fats, fiber, protein and antioxidants. Nut butters can also be a real boost (and a delicious one) to your vegetarian diet. But not all nut butters are created equal or even good for you (peanuts are actually a legume, not a nut).
SparkPeople.com has a great article this week on the best nut butters.
I want to share some of what author Bryn Mooth had to say about the best choices for a healthy diet.
As a kid, I was fanatically devoted to one—and only one—national peanut butter brand. As an adult, I’ve come to love the pure, unadulterated taste of natural nut butter. If taste alone isn’t enough to make you go au naturel, then consider the ingredients list.”
As she says, most of the peanut butter sold at your supermarket is loaded with extra ingredients that you don’t need, such as hydrogenated oil, corn syrup and a ton of sodium. You can find healthier peanut butter in the organic aisle or at your health food store but why limit yourself to just peanut butter? Consider these other nut/seed butters for a different taste and a different range of health benefits:
Almond butter - This is my newest snack addiction: almond butter on fresh celery. It’s amazing. Almond butter is also an excellent source of antioxidants and monounsaturated fat.
Cashew, pistachio or hazelnut butters - I haven’t tried pistachio butter, but Hazelnut and cashew butter are both delicious and a good source of healthy fats.
According to Mooth,
They make good additions to Indian curries or Mediterranean dishes.”
Macadamia nut butter –
Also rich and sweet, this type of nut butter is typically used with chocolate or fruit spreads, in desserts, or sweet snacks.”
My sister brought some macadamia nut butter back from her trip to Hawaii a few years ago and it was delicious, but a little on the rich side, both literally and financially.
Seed butters -
Pumpkin and sunflower seeds can be ground into a smooth paste and used like nut butter; both contain beneficial nutrients like zinc, iron and potassium. Tahini, made of ground sesame seeds, is a common ingredient in Mediterranean cuisine.”
I love making Tahini and I’ve made it both with sesame seeds in the traditional way and with ground walnuts. Both were delicous.
Nut butters can be a lot of fun to add to your daily diet.
Try adding them to smoothies and shakes, spreading them on fresh fruits and vegetables (pears with cashew butter are incredible) or even adding a bit of nut butter to your favorite baked goods recipes instead of some of the oil.
If you haven’t tried some of these “other” nut butters, please do. You’re in for a real treat that tastes great and does great things for your health.