Healthiest nut butter

Healthiest nut butter

Are you wondering about all the different nut butters facing you in the supermarket? Here are some nutritional facts about nut butters. 

Below, I provide links to the nutritional information for the various types of nut butters and make some comments about each. The nutrients mentioned are not a comprehensive list of nutrients they contain, but this gives you some idea of the nutritional benefits. I also provide some ideas/recipes as to what to do with each one.

You’ll note that there are some differences, such as the range of calories per tablespoon–just 80 for hazelnut butter and 110 for pecan butter. The differences in protein are also notable, from 2g per tablespoon in many of these butters to 4g per tablespoon in the peanut butter. Similarly, there is a range in terms of fat content, from just 6.5g per tablespoon in pistachio butter to 11.5g in pecan butter. All nuts provide heart-healthy unsaturated fat, protein, fiber and micronutrients, so I would consider them all an excellent choice to use on bread or otherwise. 

Almond butter

Nutrition facts for almond butter may be found here.

One tablespoon contains 98 calories, 3g protein, 9g fat (8g of which are unsaturated), and nearly 2g fiber. Of the unsaturated fat, approximately 5g are monounsaturated and 2g are polyunsaturated. It also contains vitamins and minerals, such as calcium and B vitamins. 

Fun fact from Lindsey Pine, RD— one serving is 24 to 26 almonds, bigger than you might think! My take on almonds: with benefits like this, you can’t go wrong in incorporating this healthy and filling snack into your day! 

Cashew butter

Nutrition facts for cashew butter may be found here.

One tablespoon contains 98 calories, 2g protein, about 9g fat (7g of which are unsaturated), and 0.5g fiber. Of the unsaturated fat, approximately 4g are monounsaturated and 2g are polyunsaturated. It also contains vitamins and minerals, such as calcium and B vitamins. 

Fun fact from Desiree Nielsen, RD— About 70% of the fat in cashews is mono- and poly-unsaturated fats, which…are known for their heart-protective qualities.

Hazelnut butter

Nutrition facts for hazelnut butter may be found here.

One tablespoon contains 80 calories, 2.5g protein, about 7g fat (5.5g of which are unsaturated), and 0.5g fiber. It also contains micronutrients such as calcium and iron. 

Fun fact — If you miss Nutella, you can make your own delicious version. Combine hazelnuts, non-alkalized cocoa powder and a small amount of honey and stir with a spoon or mix in a blender well. 

Macadamia nut butter

While macadamia nut butter does not appear in the USDA’s database, nutrition facts are available on the packaging of various brands, such as Wilderness Poets Raw Macadamia Butter.

One tablespoon contains nearly 100 calories, 2g protein, about 10g fat (8g of which are unsaturated), and 1g fiber. It also contains micronutrients such as calcium, iron, manganese and B vitamins. 

Fun fact—there are lots of delicious ways to use these nuts. If you need some ideas as to what to do with macadamia nuts, Rachael Hartley, RD, LD provides a recipe for coconut-macadamia nut butter, along with some suggestions as to how to enjoy it! 

Natural peanut butter

Nutrition facts for peanut butter may be found here.

One tablespoon contains 96 calories, nearly 4g protein, about 8g fat (6g of which are unsaturated), and 1g fiber. It also contains micronutrients such as calcium, iron, magnesium and B vitamins. 

Fun fact — Peanut butter contains oleic acid, a healthy type of monounsaturated fat also found in high amounts in olive oil. Oleic acid has been linked to several health benefits, such as preventing atherosclerosis.

Pecan butter

Nutrition facts for pecan butter may be found here.

One tablespoon contains 110 calories, 1.5g protein, about 11.5g fat (10g of which are unsaturated), and 1.5g fiber. It also contains micronutrients such as calcium and iron. 

Fun fact — pecans can be used to make healthy desserts. Rachael Hartley, RD, LD provides one delicious idea: low sugar pecan and dark chocolate pie.

Pistachio butter

Nutrition facts for pistachio butter may be found here.

One tablespoon contains 90 calories, 3g protein, about 6.5g fat (6g of which are unsaturated), and 1.5g fiber. It also contains micronutrients such as calcium and iron. 

Fun fact — Pistachio’s colorful green and purple palette is due to its antioxidant properties. A good rule for healthy eating is to ‘eat the rainbow,’ and pistachio is one sliver of this colorful universe you can dive into with healthy eating. 

Walnut butter

While pure walnut butter is not available in the USDA’s database, nutrition facts may be found on the packaging of brands such as Living Tree Community Foods.

One tablespoon contains 105 calories, 2.5g protein, about 10.5g fat (9.5g of which are unsaturated), and 1g fiber. It also contains micronutrients such as calcium, iron and vitamin C. 

Fun fact — Research suggests that consuming nuts such as walnuts is associated with less long-term weight gain and a lower risk of obesity in adults.

Final Thoughts

Nut butter is a great option for enjoyment, satiety and beneficial nutrients. Just remember to look for nut butters that don’t have added sugar, other oils, or really anything more than nuts and a small amount of salt. Nut butters are healthful and delicious on their own, so choosing a nut butter without additional unnecessary ingredients means you’ll get all the benefits and none of the downsides. 

If you’re looking for ways to incorporate nut butters into your diet, you can try drizzling it into or on top of a morning cereal, adding it to a smoothie, having it on a cracker or even adding some into a homemade salad dressing for a nutty addition. There are many ways to use nut butters, and they can truly add complexity and richness to your meals and snacks. 

Have questions? Comments? I would love to hear what you think below!

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