What nut butters are best for you?
If you're like me, you grew up eating the same delicious peanut butter throughout your childhood. There were maybe 5-6 different options to choose from at the grocery store and the biggest decision to make was whether you'd get creamy, crunchy, or extra crunchy!
Cut to today and there's no longer just a peanut butter corner on the shelf. Most stores now have an entire nut butter section like the one below and honestly, I've seen stores with even more options!
With all of these various nut butters to choose from, it can be hard to determine which one is right for you. Standing in front of these shelves can bring up a lot of questions:
"Why are there so many options... is peanut butter not healthy anymore?"
"Is almond butter healthier? I feel like I saw someone post about that..."
"What about cashew butter...is that too high in fat?"
"This one has added oil but this other option doesn't, which is better?"
If you've experienced similar internal struggles, you're not alone! We're going to walk through the nutrition information for various nut butters together. Then, we'll cover some strategies on how to shop for the more nutritious options! By the end of this, you'll be ready to tackle that massively overwhelming nut butter section with ease!
Let's break down some of the most common nut butters you'll find at the store these days. Take a quick look at the table below to compare peanut, almond, and cashew butter:
You'll notice that overall, these nut butters have very similar quantities of some of our major macronutrients (protein and fat). The biggest difference is in the fiber content: almond and peanut butter have a bit more than cashew butter. Even then, the difference is small! On top of that, nuts and nut butters are just one part of a balanced, nutritious diet. They're not meant to be our only source of fat or our main source of protein and fiber.
So what does that mean for you as the consumer standing in front of this daunting aisle at the store? Pick the type of nut butter you like! You can even keep several varieties on hand and mix it up from day to day. After all, variety is key to eating well!
Shopping for More Nutritious Nut Butters
Now you know that peanut, almond, and cashew butter really aren't that different from one another, from a nutritional perspective. This is true if the nut butter is simply just ground nuts! You can find nut butters that are nothing but ground peanuts, almonds, cashews, or even a blend of all three! These tend to be the more nutritious options.
Not all stores have just plain nut butters though so how can you pick a more nutritious option from what's available? You'll want to look at two things - the ingredient list and the nutrition fact panel. Here's what to look for:
The first ingredient should be the nut that the nut butter is made of
Look for the one with fewer ingredients - you truly only need nuts to make nut butter but some options will have several other added ingredients
Nutrition Fact Panel
Go for the one with less or no added sugar - it can be tricky to identify all the various names sugar can go by on an ingredient list so look for the section highlighted in orange on the nutrition fact panel
Are there other things you could look at to compare one nut butter to another? Sure, but we're trying to keep things simple here! Next time you're standing in front of countless nut butter options, just remember to go with fewer ingredients, less or no added sugar, and an option that you actually enjoy!
Thrive Market. Organic Peanut Butter, Creamy. https://thrivemarket.com/web/p/thrive-market-organic-peanut-butter-creamy. Accessed 05/25, 2021.
Thrive Market. Non-GMO Almond Butter, Creamy. https://thrivemarket.com/web /p/thrive-market-almond-butter-creamy. Accessed 05/25, 2021.
Thrive Market. Organic Raw Vegan Cashew Butter. https://thrivemarket.com/web /p/artisana-cashew-butter. Accessed 05/25, 2021.
Crazy Richard's. Creamy Peanut Butter. https://www.crazyrichards.com/pb-nutritionfacts/. Accessed 05/25, 2021.