Nutrition Facts: Is Almond Butter Healthy?October 22nd, 2020
With the nut butter aisle constantly expanding, choosing a jar is starting to resemble a game of pin the tail on the sandwich spread. One nut butter varietal has been gaining traction in the past few years: almond butter. What makes this nut butter so special? To explore the benefits of almond butter, how it compares to its peanut counterpart, and how you can make your own almond butter at home, keep reading.
Is Almond Butter Healthy?
Wondering why anyone would choose almond butter when peanut butter is so delicious (and ubiquitous)? Peanuts are actually legumes, putting them in the same category as foods like beans and chickpeas. While legumes provide many health benefits, they can contain antinutrients that interfere with digestion and nutrient absorption—which is why people who follow paleo or Whole30 diets avoid them. Unlike peanuts, almonds aren’t legumes (they’re actually fruit, if you really want to know), making almond butter a diet-friendly alternative to peanut butter. Additionally, they’re chock-full of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients like calcium, vitamin E, and iron. Almond butter also has a delicious flavor that is easily incorporated into countless recipes. If you don’t experience any almond-related allergies or food sensitivities, the nut butter is a nutritious option that’s a great addition to almost any meal (and a great snack in between meals as well).
Almond Butter vs. Peanut Butter
For many people, peanut butter has been a pantry mainstay since childhood. Given its delicious flavor and many uses, are differences in nutrition really worth it to switch? Read on for our comparison of the nutrient content of peanut butter and almond butter.
Nutritional Differences Between Almond Butter and Peanut Butter
Is almond butter healthier than peanut butter? Before we jump into the specifics, here’s the USDA’s breakdown of the nutritional content of the two nut butters.
- Calories: 196
- Protein: 6.71 g
- Total lipid (fat): 17.8 g
- Carbohydrates: 6.02 g
- Fiber: 3.3 g
- Sugars: 2.01 g
- Calcium: 111 mg
- Iron: 1.12 mg
- Vitamin E: 7.75 mg
- Calories: 191
- Protein: 7.11 grams
- Total lipid (fat): 16.4 grams
- Carbohydrates: 7.14 grams
- Fiber: 1.6 grams
- Sugars: 3.36 grams
- Calcium: 15.7 mg
- Iron: 0.557 mg
- Vitamin E: 2.91 mg
When it comes to calories, the two nut butters are comparable: one serving of both almond butter and peanut butter weighs in at just under 200 calories.
While both butters have great protein content, peanut butter wins this round by a hair with roughly 0.5 more grams of protein per serving than almond butter.
Both almonds and peanuts contain monounsaturated fats, which are also found in avocados, olive oil, and cashews. These healthy fats have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, and the USDA recommends that 25% of your daily calories come from monounsaturated fats. Both nut butters contain almost equal amounts of healthy fats per serving, making them both great choices if you’re looking for a heart-healthy snack.
Almond butter and peanut butter are both great for low-carb diets because of their minimal carbohydrate content. However, almond butter’s higher amount of fiber results in slightly fewer net carbs. On nutrition labels, grams of fiber are included in the total carbohydrate count, but because fiber is a type of carbohydrate your body can’t digest, it doesn’t affect your blood sugar levels.
Both almond butter and peanut butter are naturally low in sugar—keyword naturally. Some brands incorporate added sweeteners to their nut butters, so if you’re trying to avoid the sweet stuff, be sure to check the ingredients before you buy.
With a whopping 111 mg per serving, almond butter leads peanut butter in calcium content by nearly 100 mg. This essential nutrient supports bone health and muscle function.
Almond butter also wins in the iron category, with roughly double the iron content per serving as compared to peanut butter. This mineral is essential to many processes, including carrying oxygen throughout your body via red blood cells.
Though peanut butter contains plenty of vitamins and minerals, almond butter bests it once again, packing in almost triple the amount of vitamin E per serving. Just one serving of almond butter provides over half of vitamin E’s daily recommended value. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.
The Best Almond Butters You Can Buy
Decision fatigue is real when it comes to selecting an almond butter from the shelf. Let’s break it down and make it easy:
- When it comes to ingredient lists, simplicity is key. That’s why our Thrive Market Organic Almond Butter only contains one ingredient: almonds. Its squeezable and resealable pouch minimizes dirty dishes and makes it easy to dispense, whether you’re munching on a plate of apple slices or baking a batch of cookies.
- With 93% less fat, 43% fewer carbs, and plenty of protein, Barney Butter Powdered Almond Butter is an out-of-the-box way to get all the nutrients almonds have to offer. The nuts are naturally defatted, creating blanched almonds, the single ingredient that comprises this butter. Add water to use it as a spread or dip, bake it into your desserts, or blend it into a smoothie to add some extra protein and nutty flavor.
- Looking to satisfy your sweet tooth? Opt for the delightful combination of cocoa butter, vanilla, and California almonds in Justin’s Vanilla Almond Butter.
How to Make Almond Butter
Though it may sound daunting, it only takes a few minutes (and the right tools) to whip up your own batch of nutrient-packed almond butter. You can blend the butter with a food processor, high-powered blender, or even a spice grinder. Here’s how to do it:
- If you want to make roasted almond butter, either use pre-roasted almonds or pop your raw nuts into the oven at 350°F for about 10 minutes before blending.
- Add the almonds into your device for five to 15 minutes. Though the mixture may appear dry at first, a few minutes of blending will break down the fibers, releasing the nuts’ natural oils and creating a spreadable creamy texture.
- Add honey, cinnamon, or other added spices if desired.
Most nut butters will stay fresh in the fridge for up to three months.
Almond Butter Recipes
Almond Butter Cookies Recipe
This gluten-free and paleo-friendly recipe mixes up the classic cookie-ice cream pairing by serving delicious banana “ice cream” in a crispy almond butter cookie cup. Pack in that nutty goodness with this surprisingly simple treat.
Almond Butter Fudge Recipe
The smooth texture of almond butter is integral to the silky consistency of this chocolatey, soft fudge. Simply blend the ingredients together in a food processor, let the mixture chill out in the fridge, and top with pretzels to create these salty-sweet bites.
Chocolate-Pear Smoothie Recipe
Sweet pears match up with rich cacao in this nutritious morning pick-me-up. Almond butter and chia pack the protein and fiber into this nutrient-dense breakfast.
Almond Butter and Jelly Crispy Snack Cake Recipe
This after-school treat takes the classic PB&J combo to new heights, taking shape as a multi-layer snack cake. Cereal, popcorn, pretzels, coconut, and almonds are bound together by almond butter, honey, and jam in this snack that takes full advantage of the delicious pairing of salty and sweet flavors.
Toast with Almond Butter, Apple, Sea Salt, and Thyme Recipe
Elevate your toast and treat yourself to an almond butter-fueled nutrient boost. This ridiculously simple recipe is an easy way to mix up your snacking routine.