Although PB&J is the little black dress of childhood lunches, the times, and styles have changed. We are no longer limited to just one nutty spread with the biggest option being chunky or smooth. Jazz up snack time, and your nutrition, with any number of great flavors and combinations of your favorite nuts and seeds.
Many companies now offer diverse blends of butters and spreads from nuts and seeds as alternatives to peanut butter. These options can add some differences in nutrition and flavor profiles to keep your kids’ sandwiches interesting (with or without the crust). Additionally with nut allergies being a big concern, when schools, airplanes or birthday parties request no peanuts or tree nuts you’ll now have a backup plan!
Nut and seed butters can be used in any way you normally would use peanut butter; sandwiches, smoothies, brownies, cheesecakes, cookies and more. Here are some of my favorites, and how I use them to get you started!
- Sunflower Seed Butter: A mild taste with great nutritional value as an excellent source of magnesium, phosphorus, and antioxidant vitamin E per 2 Tbsp. Sunflower seed butter is a great swap out if you want something peanut AND nut-free, whether you’re making snacks for school or are getting on a plane where peanuts might be prohibited. Great with jelly or for dipping pretzels and veggies as a snack. Sunflower seed butter you buy at the store can be hit-or-miss—you may have to experiment with several different brands. I recommend trying to find single-serving or smaller jars on sale while you test to find out which one you like the best (don’t start off buying the club-sized jar!).
- Coconut Butter (manna): Rich, creamy, with a slightly sweet and nutty taste, coconut butter is a good peanut butter alternative and addition to smoothies, slathered on pancakes, sprinkled on chocolate cupcakes like frosting. You can find it in the nut butter section of your grocer.
- Almond Butter: If nut allergies aren’t a problem, almond butter is the new peanut butter! Easily found in all grocery stories, with a subtly sweet taste, you can get it in creamy or crunchy. Change things up, but not too much, for your picky eaters when making sandwiches, ants on a log or topping your favorites desserts. Almond butter is a good source of magnesium and antioxidant vitamin E for each 2 Tbsp.
- Macadamia Nut Butter: When thinking about your nut butter choices this may not be on the top of your list to try but trust me it’s a winner! Try it on sandwiches, as a dip for fruit, or in cookies.
- Hazelnut Butter: Many companies are now making a dairy-free version of chocolate hazelnut spread, with much less sugar. You can make your own at home too choosing the ingredients you love and ditching the ones you don’t.
If you are looking for a fun culinary project at home you can make your own nut butter combinations. It’s a great activity for the entire family allowing each person to pick what they like. To make your own you will need a high speed blender, or a juicer that has a nut butter attachment and 3 cups of your chosen nuts and seeds, raw or roasted, you might need or want to add in a little bit of oil to reach a smooth consistency, you can use the same kind of oil as the nut you are using. Get really creative and add in different flavors like cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne, vanilla, cocoa or berries for a customized taste.
The options don’t end there! Comment below with your favorite nut butters, combinations or something you’d like to try and use #BestLifeProject on social media to show us how you like to eat them!