For those who dislike peanut butter, are allergic to peanuts, or looking to eat more nutritiously, almond butter is a healthy alternative.
It is similar in texture and consistency to peanut butter, but does have a slightly different taste. The butter is created when almonds are crushed and smoothed to become a paste. It comes in creamy and crunchy varieties with flavors ranging from plain to chocolate.
Natural almond butter is a much healthier choice to artificially flavored and preserved peanut butter, but the latter is available in organic form too. The natural versions of both are high in monounsaturated fats, a healthier form of fat, and contain similar amounts of protein. So what’s the difference? Almond butter usually has a higher content of fiber, iron, calcium, magnesium, and Vitamin E.
Two brands available in most organic or health food stores are Justin’s Classic Almond Butter and Barney Butter Almond Butter. Both all-natural products are made from premium California almonds and gluten-free. Like peanut butter, neither requires refrigeration and goes well spread on bagels or bread with honey or jam. A two tablespoon serving size of Justin’s has 200 calories, 18 g of total fat, 2g of saturated fat, no cholesterol, no sodium, 6g of carbohydrates, 4 g of fiber, 2g of sugar, and 7g of protein. The same serving size of Barney’s Smooth variety contains 180 calories, 15g of total fat, 1.5 g of saturated fat, no cholesterol, 100mg of sodium, 8g of carbohydrates, 3g of fiber, 3g of sugar, and 6g of protein.
The main difference lies in the level of sodium that Barney’s contains to Justin’s none; however Barney’s Bare variety contains no sugar or sodium. Those with peanut allergies would need to steer clear of Justin’s since the label states it “may contain trace amounts of peanuts and hazelnuts”. Barney’s is produced in a peanut-free facility. Both companies make small 1 ounce size packets that are great for sampling the product or carrying on the go during a hike, sporting event, or in a lunch box.
Either brand of almond butter serves as a healthy substitute in any meal or snack that peanut butter would typically be used for.