5 Grown-Up Alternatives to Peanut Butter

pot of cashew butter and toast

What's not to love about nut butters? Okay, the high fat and calorie content is a bit of a bummer, but remember: A little goes a long way. What might seem like a skimpy two-tablespoon serving is actually a thin spread of nutritional heaven, loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, zinc, iron and vitamin E—not to mention a hunger-halting trio of heart-healthy fats, protein and fiber. Just skip the grape jelly and white bread. These are way too good for PB&Js.

1. Almond Butter

Almond butter can be a bit runny, but its smooth almond taste makes a perfect dip for raw veggies and apple slices.

Bonus: Look for a butter that has lots of brown specks—they're flecks of almond skin, which is full of antioxidant vitamin E.

2. Cashew Butter

Cashew lovers (who isn't?) should try stirring this nut butter into soups, sauces and curries—instant yum. Or just spread it on wheat toast when you need a creamy-crunchy snack.

Bonus: Compared to other nut butters, cashew is significantly lower in fat and calories and has a little more iron, too.

3. Macadamia Nut Butter

Give broiled tilapia or flounder a surprisingly flavorful twist by brushing it with a little melted mac butter. If you're into sweet 'n' salty combos, spread it on a lightly salted rice cake.

Bonus: In studies, macadamias have shown heart-healthy cholesterol-lowering powers.

4. Pecan Butter

The subtle flavor of pecans can get lost on bread; instead, smear it on thinly sliced apples or jicama sticks. Delish.

Bonus: Pecans are high in beta-carotene and gamma-tocopherol, a form of vitamin E that helps keep LDL cholesterol from gumming up your arteries.

5. Walnut Butter

Since walnut butter's a little bitter, pair it with something sweet—say, a drizzle of honey or apricot jam on a whole-grain bagel. For extra protein and a fresh flavor kick, add a tablespoon to hot oatmeal on a cold morning.

Bonus: Walnuts are a top-notch source of alpha-linolenic acid (AHA), which turns into good-for-you omega-3 fatty acid.

Want to know the biggest health perk of choosing healthy fats over lousy ones? Avoiding saturated and trans fats (nut butters don't have either) can make your RealAge more than 4 years younger!

Medically reviewed in April 2019.

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