Holy Nut Butters!
Monday, January 30, 2012
LifeTime WeightLoss in Anika DeCoster, Nutrition, healthy fats, nut butter

Written by Anika DeCoster, RD, CPT, CISSN – LifeTime WeightLoss

Watch out peanut butter! Sunflower, cashew, almond and hazelnut butters are stealing your spotlight and shelf space in the grocery store.  Over the last few years, even choosier moms and dads are gravitating towards these different options and ditching peanut butter all together.  This may be due to the ever-so popular peanut allergy (many elementary schools are even peanut-free!) or due to the reality that most commercial peanut butter is loaded with sugar and/or artificial ingredients.  No wonder it’s so addicting!  But  whichever the case, there are plenty of reasons why other nut butters can compliment a healthy way of life diet and be a tremendous source of essential and natural fats.  Do you use natural nut butter?  Here are my top five points on how to use and choose them!

1. Vary, not marry, the butter.  Just like with raw nuts, I encourage clients to vary their selection with each grocery store trip, or even to have a couple of options at home.  Every nut has its own unique nutrition and essential fat break down, so it’s best to get a variety of sources in your day.  Plus, why limit your options?  Be adventurous and try them all!

2. Choose unsweetened.  Because this group of foods is on the rise, there are and will continue to be many other food company competitors wanting in and supplying a less than optimal product.  Make sure you confirm the ingredient list and don’t choose a product with added sugars.  This list should be short and sweet, including oil, salt and the actual nut.  Nothing else!  Less sugar increases the likeliness that you’ll be less addictive to the food and consume less. 

3. Get over the oil.  I’m still surprised at how many people claim they won’t choose a natural nut butter because the oil, that settles on top, is an inconvenience.   I compare this situation to when a consumer goes through a drive through to get fast food.  Someone is already cooking and preparing the food for you, can’t you at least walk in to get it?  Silly right?  Same thing here, except a much healthier food in most cases.  You might have to do a little stirring here and there, but the health benefit of having these healthy fats on hand way outweigh the  inconvenience of a little stirring.  You could even go above and beyond and make your own at home with a food processor!

4. Retire the PB+J.  Sure, a classic staple and solution in many households, but really most peanut butter and jelly (and bread!) is either highly sweetened or filled with things you shouldn’t want you or your kids to consume.  Plus, there are MANY more ways to enjoy these natural fat sources.   Try adding a scoop of almond butter to your protein shake in the morning, dip your celery in some sunflower seed butter, or throw some cashew butter in your stir fry to give it a nutty-good taste.  My favorite is a little dabble of almond butter on my piece of dark chocolate (80% or higher cocoa) after dinner.   The options are endless.

5. Ditch the peanuts?  Well, you should.  Just like with corn, soy, cow dairy, and gluten, peanuts are one of the most inflammatory foods and leading allergens.  Not to mention, peanuts are cheaper than other nuts, so they are the common filler nut in many other processed foods.  Overall, we tend to get too much, but if you can’t fully commit to not consuming them, there are some options out there.  Still follow the criteria above (unsweetened and natural) but try not to over consume them, especially on a daily basis.  

This article is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations in this and other articles is at the choice and risk of the reader.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Article originally appeared on LifeTime WeightLoss (http://www.lifetime-weightloss.com/).
See website for complete article licensing information.