Almond Butter All The Way

Traditional PB&J’s are old school.

Your favorite childhood staple may not be as healthy after all and it may be a harmful allergen to those around you! Good news is, there’s a delicious and equally nutritious alternative at your fingertips.

Processed peanut butter typically contains added salt, hydrogenated oils, and sugar that packs in added sodium, trans fats, and sugars respectively. Your body can greatly benefit from the healthy fats and protein, but not the 3 additives for flavor and preserve.

All natural, raw nut butters made with only nuts (and maybe a touch of salt) are best because they are the most pure, with the least amount of processing and additives, leaving the butter as close to ground nuts (and their nutrition profile) as possible. Studies show roasted almonds are the next best to raw in maintaining antioxidant properties.

Leading grocery stores now offer large, shiny, espresso-looking machines available for customers to push a button, which results in an outpouring of freshly ground almond or peanut butter. Mini spoons are usually available as if you are testing a flavor of ice cream. It’s not ice cream, though it can be that delicious and indulgent!

Fuji Apple + Almond Butter

Macronutrients – energy sources of carbs, fat and protein {per 2.3Tbsp or 1.15oz}

Total carbohydrates in almond butter are expected to be low as it’s mainly a fat source. It typically contains 1g more fiber as compared to peanut butter. Pairing almond butter with carb rich courses such as toast, sweet potato, fruits and vegetables makes it a fiber-full, well balanced snack.

Almond butter is rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids (MUFA’s) a.k.a. heart healthy fats. These are the easiest for the body to breakdown compared to saturated and trans fats. It has slightly less saturated fat compared to peanut butter, making it an overall better choice.

Two heaping tablespoons contains 7g of protein, the same amount you’ll find in a large egg. Compared to the 6g of protein in peanut butter provides, almond butter may be the better choice post workout to build and repair muscles, though the difference isn't significant.

Bottom line: They are both very similar in macronutrients and an equally healthy, plant based fat source.

Almond Butter + Banana Toast with Cinnamon

Micronutrients – essential vitamins + minerals your body needs {RDA per oz}

Almonds contain more vitamin E (37% RDA) and magnesium (32% RDA) when compared to peanuts. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant that protects cells from damage and has been linked to reduce risk of heart disease. Specifically a 2014 study found it “significantly increased the amount of antioxidants in the blood stream, reduce blood pressure and improve blood flow.”

Magnesium (20% RDA) is important for your bone health and central nervous system. If deficient it can negatively impact exercise performance. Almond butter also has more calcium and iron than peanut butter. For this, it may be a better choice as a preventative measure to reduce risk of bone injury for athletes - just a thought.

Dried Peaches + Walnut Oatmeal soon to be covered with nut butter!

Studies show a handful of almonds, similar to a few tablespoons of almond butter can provide satiety and reduce hunger. How much should you eat? My recommendation is 12-15 whole almonds due to the high fat content. If you’re making an effort to gain weight, it’s suitable to enjoy more, perhaps in snacks throughout the day or before bed as it will slowly absorb.

Peanuts are the most common, dangerous and life threatening of the top 8 food allergens. Though many people are allergic to the tree nuts, opting for almond butter is a safe alternative for some people.

Now that you know the benefits of almond butter, click the pic below to claim your FREE all-natural Justin's Almond Butter from Thrive Market! First time members at Thrive only have to pay $1.95 S+H fee. Returning members must purchase a minimum of $50 and receive free shipping! I love Thrive because I order weekly basics in bulk, at discount prices from the leisure of my home, and they're delivered to my door. Learn more about how Thrive Market works here. PLUS 11 ways to use your free-be below!

11 Ways to use Almond Butter

Soup – When working at a bakery for four years during dietetic school, one of the most popular soups was made with tofu and peanut butter. Adding nut butter provides a rich, creamy, and of course nutty flavor providing a vegetable base more depth and perhaps desire.

Banana Toast – Almond butter + banana (or peach slices) + honey (a natural form a sugar, rich in minerals)

Nutty Sweet Potato – Buzzing on Instagram, spread almond butter over a lightly toasted half sweet potato and you have yourself a perfect blend of carbs, fats and protein

Amaze-Balls – Perfect as part of breakfast, snacks and desserts

Stir-Fry – Adding almond butter can create a canvass for cuisine. Try adding vegetables like bok choy, carrots, zucchini and celery with brown rice noodles and tofu or shrimp for a rich, simple, well-balanced dinner.

Chia Pudding – Add 1/3c chia seeds to 2/3c liquid (water, coconut water, soy, almond or cow’s milk.) Shake it up real good, then let sit in fridge over night. In the morning add fresh banana + almond butter. For a more decadent dessert try Justin’s Coconut Almond Chia Pudding.

Pancakes – Substitute some of the liquid portion with almond butter, banana and Greek yogurt for a protein boost. Add ground flaxseed to reduce inflammation.

Smoothie {Bowls} – Add it into the midst of fruit and yogurt madness for extra protein, fat and therefore calories. One of my favorites is almond milk + almond butter + shredded coconut + banana.

Oatmeal – {Pictured above} A favorite late-night snack at the Twins Academy is dried oatmeal, fruit, nuts and nut butter. Combo’s include: strawberries + walnuts, tart cherries + cashews, blueberries + almonds.

Protein Marinade – If you eat meat, Justin’s recipe for Almond Crusted Chicken seems like it would be both delicious and nutritious. This Chicken with Savory Almond Butter Sauce with peas and mushrooms sounds too good to be true!

Nutty Broccoli – A semi-vegan alternative to cheesy broccoli with the kick of ginger and red pepper flakes.

May you enjoy these nutty treats and be well this week!

#antioxidants #protein #hearthealth #magnesium #vitamins #healthyfat #toast #chiapudding #smoothie #oats #broccoli

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