I made a new nut butter recipe today, and while telling my husband about it, he commented, “Wow, you’ve been trying a lot of different nut butters…if there are all these different options, why do people always eat plain old peanut butter? And are there health benefits to eating other nut butters?” The answer to his second question is easy–different nuts have different nutritional benefits. I’m not knocking peanut butter, because peanuts do have the most folate of any nut, but there are other healthy (and way tasty) nuts out there that make great butters. Walnuts are the only nut with alpha linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid Almonds have a ton of vitamin E and magnesium. Cashews also have magnesium and oleic acid, a “healthy” fat.
The answer to the first question–why do we all eat peanut butter?–comes down to simple economics. Peanuts are cheap. Elizabeth Sanberg has a good article on WiseBread, “The Best and Worst Nuts, by Nutrition and Price”, showing that peanuts are a full dollar cheaper per 8 oz bag than the next cheapest options–almonds and cashews.
But as with other changes we’ve made to our diet, I am embracing different nut butters, because even if they’re a little more expensive, there are added health benefits. And…well, they are really tasty!!! That Chocolate-Walnut Butter is so delicious, it’s like a dessert! Sunbutter is great for nut-free classrooms. My kids love the almond butter.
This Walnut Coconut Butter is tasty and works great for kids if you refrigerate it so that it’s harder and then roll it into balls.
- 2 cups walnuts, lightly toasted
- 2 cups sweetened, shredded coconut
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1-2 tbsp pure maple syrup
- Process or blend walnuts and coconut until liquified, then add remaining ingredients and blend to mix.
- Store in refrigerator.