I’m pretty sure my first love was peanut butter. I would eat it by the spoonful and had a PB&J sandwich for lunch almost every day. I continued to expand my horizons with it and discovered the peanut butter and nutella spoon dip (hello Reese’s Pieces). Then came almond butter with honey or banana on toast. Then nut butter mixed in my oatmeal, smoothies, baking…you get the point.
I personally think nut butter is one of the best things ever created. It’s a great source of healthy plant-based protein, fiber and fat.
Yes, you heard that right: fat. Toss the low-fat mentality, people, because fat can be good for you and this is a perfect example of why it bothers me when calories are used as a measure of how healthy a food product is. Nuts are really high in calories but have tons of amazing health benefits, so hearing someone say “How many calories?” just makes me shudder. Please, get rid of that phrase and start looking at ingredient lists, what types of fats a product has, and how much fiber, sugar and protein it contains.
When picking a nut butter, remember that they’re not all created equal. There are A LOT of crap ones out there. For example, your run of the mill name brand peanut butters are filled with 6 to 10 ingredients other than peanuts, such as: sugar, molasses, corn syrup solids, fully hydrogenated vegetable oils (cottonseed, soybean, rapeseed), expeller pressed palm oil, soy protein, copper sulfate, monoglycerides, diglycerides, salt…
Let me guess, you quickly skimmed through those because you have no idea what they are. Should you really put them in your body, then? These ingredients add extra saturated fat, carbohydrates and sugar to nut butters while decreasing the healthy monounsaturated fat, fiber and protein intake per serving. Not to mention chemicals and whatever else factories use to make those ingredients.
In a nutshell, here’s my tip: When buying nut butter, if you see any ingredients listed besides peanuts or almonds, avoid it! Don’t let the words “All Natural,” “No Stir,” “Unsweetened” or, God forbid, “Reduced Fat” ever make you think a product is healthy. Take accountability and look at the ingredient list.
I usually go to my local grocery store to the fresh nut butter grinders, that way I see for myself that only fresh peanuts or almonds are getting ground into my container. If you don’t have these at your local store, there are options on the shelf, but you may have to dig for them.
A couple of my favorites to buy online are Kirkland Signature Creamy Almond Butter, 27 Ounce because the only ingredient it contains is roasted almonds, and a hidden gem peanut butter I found that actually has mixed in chia and flaxseed goodness is Trader Joe’s Crunchy Salted Peanut Butter with Flax and Chia Seeds 2 Pack 16 Oz Jars. It comes in a pack of two but believe me, that won’t be enough!