Peanut Butter Alternatives
Peanut butter is a huge favorite of the young and old alike but it doesn’t mean it is something everyone can eat. An allergy to peanuts is the main reason why some people are unable to eat it. However, another huge reason to avoid it is peanut butter nutrition.
Peanut Butter Nutritional Facts
The favorite peanut-butter-and-jelly combination is the most popular because, simply, there hasn’t been a lot of other alternatives for a long time. However, a deeper look at what is in the jar might change your mind when reaching for your jar of Skippy (or whatever product you have at home).
A couple of spoons of peanut butter actually has 190 calories, as well as 8 grams of protein, 16 grams of fat (3 of them saturated fat), and 3 grams of sugar. It is a great source of omega-6 fatty acids, which is good for strong bones, reproductive health, and metabolism. On the other hand, it is not a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammation, fight off diseases, and boost brain function.
There is not much difference whether you buy natural or processed peanut butter, and the differences between brands are limited to some ingredients. Thanks to the availability of peanut butter substitute out there, you have a choice between other products that might have more nutrients.
Will You Be Allergic to Other Nut Butters, Too?
Another importance of these replacement products is that they allow those with a peanut allergy to create their version of PBJs (Peanut Butter-Jelly). With more than 3 million Americans with this kind of allergy, alternatives prevent cases of itching, hives, and worse, anaphylaxis and death.
But the most interesting fact is that peanuts are actually legumes. This means, if you react to peanut butter, you might not do the same when consuming the replacement for peanut butter. Of course, if you are worried, it is best to do an allergy test or sample them first to check for any reactions.
Peanut Butter Substitutes to Choose From
This is the first alternative out there because it is also the most common. Nutritionally, the answer to the question “is almond butter better than peanut butter?“ is a yes. In fact, it is one of the most nutrient-dense nut butter on the market. It has more fiber than peanut butter but it is much lower in saturated fat. Plus, it has potassium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, and magnesium, in higher amounts than peanut butter. It also has 3 times more vitamin E, 7 times more calcium, and twice as much iron.
This is a low-sugar option because cashew butter normally has no added sugar. The reason behind this is that the nut itself already tastes sweet and thus, does not need an additional sweetener. Beyond that, it has more zinc and vitamin K than peanut butter.
What makes it less popular is the fact that it has more carbs and less protein. In some cases, depending on personal health goals, peanut butter might be more nutritious. Moreover, cashew butter is more expensive compared to both peanut and almond butter, which makes it a more luxurious option.
Sunflower Seed Butter
This is the perfect solution for those who have nut allergies, or who want to bring an allergy-friendly option for their kids at school. This no-nut butter has no nuts at all. Moreover, sunflower seed butter has 40% of RDI (recommended daily intake) or vitamin E, plus twice as much fiber compared to peanut butter. They both have pretty much the same amount of protein.
Pumpkin Seed Butter
While it is not yet as common, it is increasing in popularity. It is a good source of various minerals like zinc, manganese, selenium, magnesium, and copper. It may have a bit less protein compared to peanut butter, it has more than 3 times as much fiber. Again, the choice is down to our health goals and taste preferences.
Tahini or Sesame Seeds
This is already widely available, which means it is not difficult to buy it. It is also very nutritional, with good levels of magnesium, calcium, vitamin B1, fiber, and iron. It is also like peanut butter in the sense that it has not a lot of omega-3 fatty acids but is a good source of omega-6. Lastly, research suggests it is good for preventing cancer and heart disease, as well as lowering cholesterol levels.
This has been around for thousands of years, especially in Asia. While it has barely or low amounts of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, it is known to be heart-healthy. It is also good for the immune system, helps avoid bacterial infection, and boosts metabolism. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have too much protein and it has a more saturated fat content.
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Hazelnuts are also known as filberts and have tons of good stuff in them. They are a great source of vitamin E, manganese, copper, fiber, and protein. Like peanut butter, it has omega-6 fatty acids but almost no omega-3. The disadvantage is that it has only half as much protein as peanut butter, so a good suggestion is to pair it with fortified pasta or something else that is a good source of protein.
When it comes to both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, soy nuts have much more compared to peanut butter. But what makes this popular is that it is closest to peanut butter when it comes to texture and flavor. They also are a good source of protein and all the essential amino acids. Plus, the isoflavones in soy nuts may help prevent cancer and heart disease.
All of these nut and seed butter alternatives can replace peanut butter not just in sandwiches, baked goods, smoothies, and wherever you use it. If you cannot find these products, you can make them on your own. All you need to do is to crush them in a food processor or blender until you get a smooth paste.
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