What's one food in your kitchen that you can't live without?
For me, it’s nut butter. It tastes delicious, and in my opinion, the way it sticks to the roof of your mouth before it melts is absolutely wonderful. It started out as an innocent craving that turned into a full blown LOVE AFFAIR. I went from enjoying peanut butter on occasion to eating almond butter on the reg. Our family loves it on Apple Slices with Nibs, Rice Cakes with Bananas, Berry Stuffed French Toast and, my personal favorite, Dreamy Apple Cinnamon Toast. The list goes on and on!
The REAL question is, which nut butters should you avoid and which should you welcome into your home?
I love looking at labels (I know, I'm an odd bird), and peanut butter is one of the world's most popular spreads, so I wanted to spend some time at the store checking out the big name nut butters that fill our market shelves.
What I discovered was this... nut butters fall into ONE of TWO categories. They're either highly processed junk food or minimally processed and good for you, in moderation of course.
Because minimally processed nut butter is PACKED with protein, low in carbs and HIGH in healthy fats, I consider it a good addition to your diet (again in moderation), as long as it's the real deal. Since many of you and your families love nut butter as much as our family does, I wanted to share my findings when it comes to creamy or crunchy nut-buttery goodness!
What should you steer clear of when it comes to nut butters:
A common theme I found was that A LOT of the big name companies (the ones that you and your kids would typically gravitate to) use sneaky words to trick us (the consumer) into thinking that their product is actually nut butter.
Most of the jars I picked up contained anywhere from 4 to over 14 unnecessary ingredients. Some said Natural but contained ingredients that were ANYTHING but natural. One jar said it was made with honey, but it was the last ingredient listed (yes, after sugar). Others didn't even say exactly what they were, which led me to wonder, are they a nut butter, a spread... or something else? The most frustrating thing was, all of these brands had big pictures of nuts to lead you to believe they were the real deal.
Here's a look at some of those deceiving labels...
Skippy Natural Creamy Peanut Butter Spread: This spread (meaning it's made with less than 90% peanuts) contains sugar and palm oil as main ingredients... no thank you!
Skippy Natural Creamy Peanut Butter Spread with HONEY: Don’t let the label deceive you. Sugar is the main sweetener used, not honey. Honey is listed as the last ingredient, meaning it’s used the least.
Jiff Reduced Fat Creamy Peanut Butter Spread: This nut butter spread is one of the most highly processed of the bunch. It's made with only 60% nuts and contains 16 ingredients, many of which I can barely pronounce:
Peanuts, Corn Syrup Solids, Sugar, Pea Protein, Contains 2% Or Less Of: Salt, Fully Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils (Rapeseed And Soybean), Mono And Diglycerides, Molasses, Magnesium Oxide, Niacinamide, Ferric Orthophosphate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Folic Acid, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride.
One of the "good ones"...
Adam's Peanut Butter: One ingredient... the nut itself.
Another AWESOME and inexpensive option:
So in a nutshell (no pun intended), here's what to steer clear of when it comes to nut butter:
- Avoid nut butter spreads. It should say “nut butter” not “nut butter spread.” Spreads consist of less than 90% nuts and who knows what else?!
- Avoid nut butters with added sweeteners such as sugar, corn syrup or molasses.
- Avoid nut butters with added oils such as hydrogenated vegetable oils.
- Basically, avoid anything other than nut butters made with just the nut.
What You WANT in a nut butter:
- The nut, or a combination of nuts, ground up into nutty goodness, that's it! ...and maybe a limited amount of salt.
- Take inventory of your pantry and eliminate nut butter spreads or nut butters with added oils or sugars. Replace them with 100% natural nut butter containing only the nut and limited salt. If you haven’t tried any nut butters other than peanut butter, consider purchasing a nut butter blend or one made with cashews, almonds, sunflower seeds, pecans or walnuts.