Go Nuts! (for nut butter)

9 Aug

It’s no secret, I freaking love almond butter. 

I was never a big peanut butter fan growing up, I always found it too sweet and couldn’t quite get into the whole pb&j craze.

Fast forward to now, for some reason, I just can’t get enough of the almond-y stuff.

There are a number of reasons that almond butter is awesome:

It’s Heart Healthy: Almond butter is rich in monounsaturated fats, the kind that reduce bad cholesterol and decrease the risk of heart trouble.   Decreasing cholesterol levels can also help to lower the blood pressure.  Also, no trans fats.  In addition, almond butter also contains calcium, potassium, and magnesium, which are minerals that help to reduce blood pressure.

It Can Help Moderate Blood Sugar: Almond butter is delicious, but is not a sugary, carb-filled treat.  This means a slower increase in blood sugar and insulin, but a totally satisfying dessert.

It Can Help With Weight Control: Here’s the challenge – nuts are super high in calories, but they are also high in protein, fiber, and monounsaturated fats.  You need to be mindful about your intake, but almond butter is so rich and delicious, that you’ll need less of it to feel satisfied.  It’s a great snack and a good way to curb hunger without turning to junk food.

It’s a Great Way to Get Your Protein:  Almond butter is made from actual almonds (and nothing else, another great reason to eat it).  That means it still contains as high a level of protein as the whole almonds it’s made from. Nutrition Data states 1/4 cup of plain almond butter contains 9.5g of protein and no cholesterol. That’s more than one large egg.  These days, we typically don’t get enough good protein, so almond butter is an awesome way to add it in.

Sold?  Good.  Here are some tips on which almond butter to buy.  There are all sorts of varieties out there.  I think this is a case where your dollars are well spent getting a higher quality butter.  You can get almond butter roasted or raw, organic or not.  So far, all of the types I’ve tried have almonds as the only ingredient.  Trader Joe’s has a bunch of nut butters with various nut combinations.  You can explore and find what suits you best.

The two main almond butter staples in my home are:

Maranatha Roasted Almond ButterIt’s decent and you can get it at Costco super cheap (which my mom does all the time, and the passes the good stuff on to me).  It’s a little oily sometimes, and not quite as delicious as my favourite, but it fills the need.

My favourite almond butter so far is from Nuts To You.
It’s super great, and was the almond butter that got me hooked on almond butter.  Not too oily, not too hard, not too sweet.  It’s just right.

President’s Choice also offers an almond butter, but I haven’t tried it, so I don’t know quite what it’s like.  You can also find a variety of providers at any health food store.

By now, you’re probably elbow deep in almond butter.  But if you’re not, let me finish with my top five almond butter delivery systems.  Any and all of these options will help to bring deliciousness straight to your face:

  1. Bananas: This is my go to option.  You can dip the banana right in the jar.  Make sure the banana is structurally sound and doesn’t break off though.  If it does you will end up with WAY more almond butter than you bargained for.
  2. Granola bars: Again, a good option, provided they’re simple and not loaded with sugar.
  3. Celery Sticks: Celery turns almond butter into lunch rather than dessert.
  4. Drizzled on yogurt and berries: Makes the butter into breakfast.  What an awesome way to start your morning.
  5. Your fingers: When dipping stuff into the almond butter jar, it will happen, your fingers will get nutty.  Embrace it.

As I said before, moderation is key, watch your intake and don’t pile loads of almond butter on everything just because it’s “healthy”.  Calories are calories, but I would argue that almond butter gives you good bang for your buck calorie and nutrient-wise, and the more good things you can fuel your body with, the better off you are.  Go nuts!


2 Responses to “Go Nuts! (for nut butter)”

  1. Jules August 9, 2012 at 12:40 pm #

    So how does almond butter compare to peanut butter?

    • How We Roll Fitness August 9, 2012 at 3:47 pm #

      Both are high in protein, fiber and fat. Almond butter has 50% more monounsaturated fat than peanut spread and about 25% less saturated fat. It depends on the butter too. Some natural peanut butters are great, but many of the cheaper and more readily available ones contain hydrogenated oils and trans fats.

      Peanuts are considered acidic whereas almonds are alkaline.

      Also, it comes down to taste. I’ve always liked almonds better so it’s no surprise that I prefer almond butter.

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