Want to spice up your PB & J? There are so many nut and seed spreads now that do not contain peanuts. This is great if you have a peanut allergy (as millions of Americans have), or just if you’re getting bored and want to try something new. Many are filled with even more omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids that we find in peanut butter. They are still nuts and seeds, so the calories are pretty high–moderation is key!
Check out some of the new varieties and their nutritional values!
Almond: Nutrition facts: 190 calories, 18g fat (2g sat fat), 7g protein
Almond butter’s a good source of omega-6 fatty acids, and a better source of omega-3 fatty acids than peanut butter.
Benefits: Almonds are the most nutritionally dense nut, meaning they’ve got the highest concentration of nutrients per calorie and ounce. We’re talking potassium, calcium, vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorous, and iron. Other studies have found chowing on almonds (the raw variety, at least) can help lower blood pressure and “bad” cholesterol, also known as LDL.
DIY: This recipe for raw almond butter requires just almonds, honey, and salt. Sweet!
PB Replacement Recipe: Instead of a peanut butter banana breakfast smoothie, shake things up with an almond butter smoothie.
Coconut: Nutrition facts: 180 calories, 18g fat (16g sat fat), 2g protein
Coconut offers minimal omega-6 and barely any omega-3 fatty acids.
Benefits: For thousands of years, people have been chowing on this heart-healthy nut that supports the immune system, boosts metabolism, and can even help prevent bacterial infection.
Cons: There’s not too much protein in a serving of coconut butter and the saturated fat content’s pretty high. So be sure to spread a limited amount on fortified bread or another great protein source.
Hazelnut: Nutrition facts: 180 calories, 17g fat (1g sat fat), 4g protein
Like peanut butter, hazelnuts are a good source of omega-6 fatty acids, but don’t offer too much omega-3.
Benefits: Also known as “filberts,” hazelnuts are packed with the good stuff: protein, fiber, vitamin E, copper, and manganese.
Cons: The problem is a serving of hazelnut butter has about half the amount of protein that peanut butter has, so pair the butter with fortified pasta (see the recipe below) or another protein-packed food item.
Sunflower: Nutrition facts: 180 calories, 16g fat (2g sat fat), 6g protein
Sunflower seeds don’t offer much omega-3 fatty acids, but they’re brimming with omega-6s.
Benefits: Here comes the sun(flower), a great source of magnesium and antioxidant vitamin E.
DIY: Toast up those seeds and then blend them in a food processor.
Peanut Butter Replacement Recipe: Take peanut butter oatmeal cookies to the next level and try your hand at sunbutter oatmeal cookies.
Pumpkin: Nutrition facts: 180 calories, 14g fat (4g sat fat), 10g protein
Pumpkin seeds pack more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3s.
Benefits: After Halloween has come and gone, this superfood still makes an awesome snack in any form. Its best benefits include a ton of protein (more than peanut butter), fiber, potassium, and beta-carotene, a nutrient associated with boosting the immune system.
DIY: Grind up pumpkin seeds, transfer them to a food processor, then add olive oil, honey, and salt.
Peanut Butter Replacement Recipe: Orange you glad you woke up for breakfast? Skip the peanuts and spoon a dollop of pumpkin butter in a bowl of oatmeal.
Sesame (Tahini): Nutrition: 170 calories, 16 g fat (2 g sat fat), 6g protein
Like peanut butter, sesame seeds are filled with omega-6 fatty acids, and not so much omega-3.
Benefits: Sesame seeds are a great source of nutrients including calcium, magnesium, iron, vitamin B1, and fiber. Plus research suggests the seeds can lower cholesterol levels and help prevent cancer and heart disease..
DIY: Toast the seeds; put them in the food processor; add vanilla extract, salt, and sugar. Voila!
Peanut butter replacement recipe: Apples and peanut butter are cute, but grown-ups can snack on fresh fruit and sesame seed butter.
By, Shana Lebowitz
For more information about nut and seed alternitives, go to Greatist.com