Not all nut butters are created equal.
The best options are packed with protein and healthy fats that will help build lean muscle, while the junky alternatives are slammed with chemical preservatives and processed sugars, that can pack on pounds around your midsection.
In recent years there seems to have been a craze for almond butter being the “healthier option,” however many people often can’t say why they believe that to be true (it certainly isn’t the price, as almond butter can be twice as expensive as peanut butter!).
The world has become saturated by the comparison of nut butter options through the internet and studies, so I’m going to simplify it for you in two very simple categories: Macronutrients and Organic.
So when you look at these two categories and compare almond vs. peanut, who wins?
Here’s the showdown…
When it comes to head honcho macronutrients, such as carbs, fat and protein, it is pretty much a draw. There isn’t a huge difference between the two options. Over, under, give or take a gram or two, they are pretty much on the same level.
When it comes to the other nutrients, almond butter seems to take the lead. Almond butter is higher in calcium, iron, magnesium and vitamin E, leading to better bone health among other benefits.
Overall, almond pushes ahead of peanut by a hair.
With so many buzz words being slapped on nutrition labels, it’s hard to know what to really look for. When it comes to peanut and almond butter, you need to look for organic. Peanuts are so over processed in the US with pesticides and who knows what, that getting organic nuts is crucial to avoid yucky additives.
Along with organic, look for the label “natural.” Now, don’t be fooled, Twinkies could probably throw the word “natural” on their food. However, that gives you a starting point to look for additional ingredients. Anything on the label that you can’t pronounce? You don’t want it. You don’t want much (if anything) more than peanuts or almonds and many a little salt.
Almond butter tends to pull away with the lead on this front as well. This is because of how over process peanuts have become. You can find good peanut butters, but you often have to sift through a lot of garbage to find them. Additionally, peanuts can develop a fungi called aflatoxins, which can cause a variety of diseases…and that often isn’t put on a label.
Lastly, if you want to get technical, peanuts are actually a legume, not a nut. So, if you are trying to be primal or paleo, even if peanuts are completely organic, they might not be your best choice.
Almond butters are not as readily available and but tend to come from more natural brands.
So, in analyzing those two categories, it seems that almond butter finishes first. However, don’t fear the peanut, just find the most natural kind of butter for a better choice.
You can enjoy all the deliciousness WHILE burning fat—you just need to pick the better ones!
This isn’t an all-inclusive list of good nut butters, but these are some of my top picks:
–Trader Joe’s Creamy Unsalted Almond Butter (Ingredients: raw almonds)
–Maranatha Almond Butter (Ingredients: organic dry roasted almonds)
–Make your own: Stores like whole foods will grind almonds for you, for a completely natural option. Mark’s Daily Apple has a recipe here. Or, you could REALLY make your own and get a Vitamix blender to have almond butter on demand!
–Smucker’s Natural Peanut Butter (Ingredients: peanuts and a dash of salt)
Want a delicious and healthy treat? Try IngrEATiants Nut Butters. Their Salted Caramel Coconut Almond Butter contains dry roasted almonds, shredded coconut, natural caramel extract, and sea salt for a delicious and natural treat.
Better Ways to Eat Nut Butter
Everyone loves a good PB&J sandwich, but here are some better ways to consume nut butter that will help you lean out.
- Steel-cut oats
Prep your steel cut oats, throw in a spoonful of nut butter, add a dash of cinnamon and it tastes like cookies for breakfast.
- Greek yogurt
My wife’s personal favorite. Add a spoonful to plain greek yogurt, with a dollop of honey and dash of cinnamon. Add a handful of blueberries or raspberries for some extra delicious flavor.
Stir fry this peanut sauce recipe for dinner with beef and broccoli, or use it as a dressing for your salad!
Thai “Peanut/Almond” Sauce:
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk or filtered water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 teaspoons apple cider vinegar, lemon or lime juice
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1/2 cup smooth, roasted almond butter
- Black pepper to taste
- 2 pinches cumin
- Protein Shake: Add a scoop of nut butter to the blender with your protein shake.
Chocolate, Banana, Almond/Peanut Butter Shake:
- 1 banana
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 cups crushed ice
- 2 tablespoons almond/peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- Snack time with apples or celery
Spread 2 tablespoons of nut butter on apples or celery for a filling and delicious snack!
- Berries, dark chocolate, honey and cinnamon
Wash berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, etc.) and put in a bowl. Chop up a couple small pieces of dark chocolate and sprinkle over berries. Drizzle a tablespoon of honey over the berries and sprinkle with a dash of cinnamon. Melt 2 tablespoons of almond/peanut butter and drizzle over the berries for a perfect dessert!
EFF YEAH MARANATHA! That is my jam right there. It’s so dangerously delicious that I have to save it for a cheat meal, because I know that once I open it, there’s no going back. No moderation, no halfway ground.
Though, seriously, those recipes look pretty delicious.