I’m a nutritionist, health coach, and an overall wellness-obsessed person. But I’ve got a dirty secret: I don’t get almond butter.
Trust me, I’ve tried to like it. Especially after finding out that my beloved peanut butter causes inflammation and can contain toxins like mold and mildew (I’m still in mourning). But no dice—it just doesn’t do it for me.
In my quest to replace my favorite jar of Jif with something creamy, nutty, and high in healthy fat, I’ve stumbled upon some pretty fantastic nut butter alternatives. Surprisingly, many of them are actually healthier than almond butter, especially if you opt for the raw kind which usually has a short ingredient list of nuts and sea salt. Of course, there are more decadent options available, too … The kind that tastes so good drizzled over ice cream, or when spooned straight out of the jar.
Here are the greatest nut butters you probably haven’t tried—but definitely need to.
Cashew butter is almond butter’s biggest rival. In terms of nutritional value, the spreads are almost identical in dietary fat and protein content. The flavor, though, is where cashew butter takes the cake. It’s a little more buttery and mild than nutty almond butter, but with the same rich consistency. Because the flavor is less obvious, cashew butter is excellent for adding into smoothies and desserts as a thickener.
Pepitas, or pumpkin seeds, don’t get enough credit. These little guys are absolutely loaded with nutrition—zinc, magnesium, phosphorous, maganese, magnesium, and copper, to name a few—to help you feel healthy and amazing. But they’re especially beneficial if you wanna look good, too: In a study of men with hair loss, those who ate pumpkin seeds daily for six months saw a 40 percent increase in hair growth.
Sakara’s sprouted pumpkin seed butter is one of my faves. According to the Sakara girls, it’s great for a post-workout snack because it’s “a great source of plant-based protein (with 9 g of sexy-muscle-building protein per serving!), and also comes rich in iron for healthy circulation and increased energy.”
Don’t worry—it won’t get you stoned. Hemp seeds have absolutely zero THC, the chemical that gives marijuana its psychedelic side effects. They are, however, one of the best sources of vegan protein on the planet. One two-tablespoon serving of hemp seed butter has a whopping 11 grams of protein, plus omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. In my experience, it’s a bit more grainy than smoother nut butters, so it pairs nicely with gluten-free crackers for a savory afternoon pick-me-up or when blended into a smoothie for a protein boost.
Anyone else have a slightly irrational fear that eating watermelon seeds will cause a tiny watermelon to grow in their belly? (No? Just me?) The Sakara girls assured me there’s no need to worry, and that watermelon seeds are actually a superfood we should all be eating regularly.
According to them, “Watermelon Seed Butter is an amazing source of zinc, which is essential for a strong immune system (just in time for cold and flu season!) as well as magnesium. Magnesium is one of the most important minerals for us as women to supplement with because of its involvement in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body – and yet the majority of us are deficient! It’s also your best friend for optimal digestion, so it’s definitely something you want to keep handy!”
A traditionally Middle Eastern ingredient, tahini is growing in popularity because it’s such a versatile, delicious nut butter. Technically it’s made from pulverized sesame seeds, so it’s generally more safe for those with tree nut allergies. Despite their small size, sesame seeds are incredibly nutritious—they’ve got high levels B vitamins, zinc, calcium, and vitamin E—and a scoop of tahini is a way more convenient way to enjoy their benefits.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t include Nuttzo on this list. First recommended to me by a Paleo chef who loved her jar so much, she would “eat Nuttzo over any other nut butter,” I feel in love with its crunchy consistency and unique blend of seven different nuts and seeds. It’s got organic flax seeds and chia seeds for a dose of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber mixed into a blend of organic cashews, organic almonds, organic brazil nuts, organic hazelnuts, organic pumpkin seeds, sea salt. The result is unlike anything you’ve ever tasted before, and it’s so healthy that you can enjoy the chocolate version guilt-free!