If you grew up in a typical American household, peanut butter was likely a staple in your childhood diet. It was a smooth, super sweet version usually named Jif or Peter Pan and your parents doled it out on a piece of spongy white bread or even just on a spoon. It would stick to the roof of your mouth and you would take your time licking it away with a smile.
If you were like me, as you became an adult, you started to notice “Natural” peanut butters and those cool machines in health food stores that turn roasted peanuts instantly into gooey, creamy goodness. As we age, we tend to look for healthier choices of our comfort foods that are still yummy. Nut butters are a great way to incorporate healthy fats and protein into your diet and they taste great! Most grocery stores now carry butters made of almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, even walnuts and pecans.
So, how do you know which nut butter to choose? There is really only one tip. The only ingredient in a healthy nut butter should be the nut itself. Any other ingredient is unnecessary for a delicious nut butter and should be avoided. NO sugar, NO oil. The only exception to this is perhaps a bit of sea salt, but not regular salt. Stay tuned for a future post on why all SALT is not created equal.
We all know that sugar is bad, so that’s an easy one. But, don’t nuts contain oil? Why do you have to make sure there is no extra oil in your nut butter? One word: hydrogenation. When you see the word “hydrogenated” anywhere in a list of ingredients, put it back on the shelf. NO EXCEPTIONS! Why? Here is a fantastic article detailing hydrogenation and why to avoid it.
Happy eating, neighbors!