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Going Nuts for Healthy Nut Butters!

toast spread with peanut butter and peanuts scattered around
These healthy nut butters will have PB shaking in its boots! Consider using some to jazz up your favorite recipes.

by Catherine Santino

It's hard to believe that there once was a time (not too long ago) when a stroll down the condiment aisle meant encountering one — and only one — nut butter option: Peanut butter.

Nowadays, it seems there are endless varieties and new healthy nut butters emerging every day. This is great news for those who suffer from peanut allergies, but it can also make grocery shopping an overwhelming experience, prompting a new series of questions: Which nut butter is best? Why should one be chosen over another? How can they be incorporated into an eating plan?

Prepare to put your mind at ease. Below is a rundown of three delicious and healthy nut butters (along with their nutritional info) as well as some recipe ideas!

1. Almond Butter

As the most widely available nut butter (aside from the traditional peanut variety), almond butter is a delicious addition to many meals and snacks and it packs a nutritional punch.

If you're trying to cut back on carbs and instead focus on consuming proteins and healthy fats, almond butter is definitely for you, according to Time. Just make sure to check the label and be warned of any added sugars or oils.

Feeling creative? Try using almond butter as a dessert alternative! Adding the healthy nut butter to sweet treats can help satisfy your cravings while still keeping you on track. This No-Bake Chewy Cranberry Treats recipe is the perfect way to end any meal.

2. Cashew Butter

The creamy consistency of cashews is a big part of why they make an ideal nut butter. The other reason? The nutritional benefits packed inside! Although cashews are low in fiber compared to most nuts, they are full of vitamins E, K, and B6, as well as minerals like copper, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, iron, and selenium. That's a lot of good stuff.

The creamy, nutty flavor also translates well into a variety of recipes. For instance, this Acorn Squash and Cashew Sorbet is a wonderfully refreshing treat. The natural sweetness of squash and savory flavor of cashews are enhanced by this yummy frozen dish; regular ol' ice cream just doesn't compare.

3. Walnut Butter

Walnut butter is fantastic, but it's not usually the first option most people think of when considering healthy nut butters. It might not get all the glory it deserves since it can be a little difficult to work with — when turned into a paste, walnuts tend to get crumbly and stiff. Plus, the polyunsaturated fats make it faster to spoil, so it's important to keep this one in the fridge.

Walnuts contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids (an essential nutrient, especially if you're a vegetarian), making walnut butter a great replacement for peanut butter when it comes to baking. Try adding chunks of white chocolate to some homemade walnut butter for a creamy, delicious treat.

Aside from the great taste and versatility, there are tons of other reasons to start incorporating healthy nut butters into your life. Not only does research continue to show that nuts may help reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke, nut butters can help jazz up your recipes and snacks with a unique twist. Your next visit to the grocery store's condiment aisle is sure to be exciting!