By Lindsay Cohn
Whether you prefer creamy, crunchy or chunky, peanut, almond or some other nut butter, chances are you have at least one jar of this healthy go-to in your pantry.
These days, not only can you find a butter made out of just about any nut, you can also get spreads infused with tons of flavors, from coffee to cake batter (oh, yeah!).
Of course, with some of these exotic flavors come tons of added sugar and preservatives. To help you navigate the crowded nut-butter aisle with ease, we turned to some registered dietitians to find out which nutritious spreads they go nuts for.
Fans of Nutella will go gaga for this delectable blend of nuts (cashews, almonds and brazil), seeds (flax, chia and pumpkin seeds) and chocolate. “This is my personal favorite,” says registered dietician Lisa Hayim. No wonder: It’s organic and peanut-free (in case that common allergy is a concern for you), and has 5 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber but only 2 grams of sugar per 2-tablespoon serving.
For an energy kick, registered dietitian Brooke Alpert, author of The Diet Detox, loves this espresso-infused almond butter. “It’s slightly bitter, but I find it addictive. Plus, it offers 6 grams of protein, only 1 gram of sugar and a nice caffeine boost, the equivalent of a 12-oz. cup of joe (200 milligrams) per 2-tablespoon serving.” Swirl it into your morning oatmeal or add a dollop to your a.m. smoothie.
Maple syrup makes everything taste better, and this luscious no-stir almond butter certainly bears that out. Hayim is a fan of this tasty treat that rings in at just 4 grams of sugar, plus 6 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber per 2-tablespoon serving. With its smooth, velvety consistency, it’s easy to slather on a banana or sliced apple. Take that, sweet tooth.
“This is a lovely, light and airy take on peanut butter,” Hayim says. Honey adds a hint of natural sweetness, without spiking the sugar content (it’s still just 6 grams per 2-tablespoon serving). It also boasts 7 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber. Bonus: It’s non-GMO Project Verified.
This spread blends creamy coconut with subtle hints of vanilla. The result tastes like an indulgent dessert—no wonder it’s the brand’s best seller. And, with only 3 grams of sugar per 2-tablespoon serving (plus 4 grams of fiber and 2 grams of protein), you can indulge guilt free. “I try to have it on an apple or seeded cracker, but sometimes I eat it straight from the jar on a spoon,” Alpert admits.
This nutrient-dense spread blends raw, stone-ground, sprouted cashews and almonds with cardamom, vanilla, and nutrient-rich sweetener lucuma. “It’s lightly sweetened (a 2-tablespoon serving has 9 grams of sugar),” Alpert says. “Plus, the exotic spices and nuts pair really well together, making it a delicious option to mix into a smoothie.” Go ahead, have it for dinner (it also has 2 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein): We love it drizzled over roasted sweet potatoes.